How to Avoid Conflict Caused by Micromanaging

Micromanaging, or taking an inappropriate, controlling and bothersome role in employee projects, adds unnecessary friction to already stressful situations. A person who micromanages causes conflict. Why? Because when an employee feels that his time has been wasted or that his work was for naught, he blames you.

Every organization has its share of employees who aren’t enthusiastic about hard work or creative thinking. They want you (and everyone around them) to hold their hands, make decisions for them, and generally turn even the simplest of tasks into an excruciating exercise in patience, and they probably do need additional attention from you, so manage them accordingly. But decide who’s who before you take handholding to new heights.

Let employees take the lead on a project and it’ll become clear pretty quickly which ones just need some independence to shine and which ones still need your assistance. This approach helps you direct your attention where it’s needed most while allowing the employees who need less TLC to flourish.

Consider these ideas as a way to micromanage less and empower more:

  • Instead of relentlessly asking questions, set mutually agreeable check-in points for an employee to update you on his project.

  • Instead of stressing about every detail, add value where your strengths shine.

  • Instead of swooping in at the last minute to criticize a detail, set a vision in the beginning of a project and trust your team to update you as necessary.

  • Instead of allowing a temporary fix to become a long-term management method, do what you have to do to put out a fire, but then consider coaching an employee into more independent roles.

  • Take a hint! Some employees will try subtle and diplomatic ways to get you to back off. Some may even tell you straight up that you’re meddling or smothering them. Listen and find other ways to add value instead of steamrolling over them. If you want to feel like you’re part of the group, the event, or the project, ask how your staff would like you to add value.

Hovering over employees makes for an untrustworthy workplace. You take away an employee’s opportunity to show that he’s proficient when you micromanage. Ease the burden on yourself by spending less time perched over shoulders and more time focused on building strategies, relieving stress, coaching him for the next big job, and showcasing your collective successes.

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