HOW TO STOP BEING THAT FANATICAL MICROMANAGER AT THE OFFICE
By Cameron Bishop
“I perform better under a strict micromanager!” Quote from no employee … ever.
When you hear the word, “micromanager”, what is the image that immediately springs to mind? For most people, it’s the figure of a forlorn employee sitting at his or her desk as an overbearing supervisor behind them leans over the employee’s shoulder watching them work intently. A favorite cartoon panel of mine depicts this image as the micromanager sternly growls into his subordinate’s ear, “Jenkins … there’s no hyphen in ‘micromanager’!”
The truth is most micromanagers are not domineering freaks. They’re well-meaning and smart people. Just ones with control issues …and sometimes impossibly high standards. Their excuse for their behavior is that they want things done right the first time. But, the fact that they point out to you that your lunch break is only 30 minutes long when you’ve just been gone 33 minutes goes way beyond “wanting things done right”.
At some point in our working lives, most of us have had the experience of working with a micromanager. The boss that is never quite happy with the work you’re doing … questioning EVERY decision you make … and never really giving you authority despite telling you that this is “your project”.
So my question to you is … now that you’re the boss, are you micromanaging your people?
We tell ourselves it’s our high standards that cause us to stay close to every project. But studies show that the #1 reason people leave their job is dissatisfaction with the boss. And one of the top reasons people were dissatisfied? Because the boss was a micromanager.
Most micromanagers don’t realize they’re micromanaging.
Remember how it felt to be micromanaged. You spend hours working on something only to have it dismissed or ￼disregarded, making you feel like you’re wasting your time. It can cause you to doubt yourself or feel paranoid. It can make you frustrated or angry. And over time, you may decide to look for a new job … one where they appreciate and trust you to make a few decisions. You don’t want to be the cause of these negative reactions in your team.
Assess your tendency to be a micromanager by honestly reviewing these signs:
You think that you’re smarter, faster and more skilled. This can frustrate you because you think only your way is the right way.
You’re always swamped. This is probably because the thought of delegating tasks keeps you up at night, sweating profusely. Therefore, you’re keeping the important tasks for yourself. The problem is that to you, they’re all important.
When you do give an assignment, you tell the person how to do the work, rather than just stating the end goal and what a successful finish will look like
You don’t simply walk around to see how things are going. Instead, you hover, needing to know what each of your employees is working on
You want to be cc’d on emails about the project. All emails instead of just the critical ones that you should be cc’d on.
You are never truly away from the office because you’re constantly “checking in” … even when you’re supposed to be with your family on vacation at the Grand Canyon.
You ask for needless updates and reports as the project progresses and at the first sign of trouble, you yank the job back
You’re never quite satisfied with the work. The Harvard Business Review points out that this makes people avoid meeting with you, your red pen and exacting standards.
Your workers appear timid, tentative and paralyzed when performing even the most mundane task. They fear your irritation or because they’ve made a decision without consulting you first.
When an employee makes a mistake, you fix it for him or her. By doing this, you make your employee feel inadequate, paranoid and the equivalent of six-years old. You also keep them from learning and improving.
Employees tell you you’re a micromanager
Your team is experiencing high turnover
So, how many did you check off? Ok, how many did you honestly check off? That’s what I thought. Remember, being a micromanager doesn’t make you a bad person, but it does make you a bad leader. Luckily, it’s a behavior that you can turn around if you work at it.
Six ways to let go of your need to micromanage:
Understand why you’re micromanaging. Are you afraid mistakes will make you look bad? You tell yourself “too much is at stake to allow this to go wrong.” By taking a closer look at when you’re tempted to jump in to save the day, you’ll understand which projects, people or situations are making you anxious.
Focus on letting go of the details. Be clear on where you need to be involved. Let the rest go. Consider which projects your involvement really adds value to. What could you do with another hour of time each day at work unencumbered by smaller projects or things that can be done just as well by others? Yes … I thought that would make you smile.
Talk to your team, so they understand your new priorities. Now that you’ve carefully considered which things make you most anxious, let them know when you want to be involved and how. Clear the way for them by giving them greater access to resources and more authority to make decisions where possible.
Set clear expectations on “what” you need done. What will the final outcome look like when it’s successful? Don’t dictate the “how.” Let your employees know you trust them to rise to a challenge.
Understand your employees’ capabilities and hire the right people. The most successful leaders hire the right people and then let them do their jobs. Will mistakes be made now and then? Of course they will, you’re hiring human beings (hopefully). Mistakes are opportunities if you’re hiring good people. If mistakes are catastrophic, you need to look at who you have under you.
However, there are times when a tiny bit of micromanaging is needed. For example, a new employee might need more input from you. A new project where there’s a lot at stake might also need closer scrutiny. Explain this to those employees so they know your micromanaging is temporary. Remember that delegating does NOT mean abdicating. You’re the boss and the buck stops with you, so you do need to do your job as well.
There’s a vast difference between being a great boss and being a micromanager. Your goal is high productivity and high morale. Take a moment to really assess your management style. Consider what’s causing you to micromanage and take steps to let go, to delegate well and to trust your employees and help them trust themselves.
TLC For Your Summer Eyes
Is it bad to sleep in my contacts? Sleeping in lenses was the most common offense reported by people who wear contacts, according to a new report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other bad habits include swimming in lenses or waiting too long to replace them. Sleeping in daily-wear contacts does increase your risk for eye infections. It could also cause problems with your cornea, the surface of the eye. Even if your contact lenses are approved for overnight wear, it’s important to give your eyes a break and let the cornea breathe. Here are some other tips to reduce your risk of developing an eye infection:
Always wash hands with soap and water before handling contact lenses.
Don’t use anything other than contact lens solution to wash and rinse lenses.
Replace your contact lens case every three to four months to reduce bacteria.
Store lenses in a clean case with fresh solution each day.
If you experience vision problems, redness, watering or discharge, you may have an infection. If removing a lens doesn’t help the irritation, call your eye doctor. Don’t forget to bring the offending lens to the appointment with you. If your doctor does see signs of an infection, he/she can culture the contact lens itself to get more information about how best to treat it.
TLC For Your Summer Skin
Skin Cancer Prevention Tips From Baptist Health South Florida
Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30 daily. Reapply at least every two hours when outside (you need an ounce to cover most of the body).
Wear protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with total UV protection. Avoid over-exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. if possible. And definitely avoid getting a sunburn.
Do monthly self-examinations of your skin and see a physician once a year for a professional screening exam. You can use online resources from skincare.org to help you recognize moles or growths on your skin that may be developing into skin cancer.
Stay away from tanning salons. Just one indoor tanning session can raise the risk of melanoma by 20%.
BECOMING A GREAT COMMUNICATOR IS IN EASY REACH
By Dan Rose
Unfortunately, we all know what it’s like to have the perfect response pop into our head after an important situation or verbal exchange—too late to be of any use. Yet there are those individuals who always seem to know exactly what to do—and say—in any conflict or crisis. You may think that you’ll never be able to do that, but honestly, with a few tips, even you can become a great communicator in no time.
Faced with an angry customer, an uncooperative co-worker or a tense negotiation, they don’t stammer, stumble or get upset—they keep their cool and smoothly sail through the encounter, getting what they want without breaking a sweat. And, not surprisingly, the professional who demonstrates that kind of powerful poise and presence is also the person who rapidly rises through the ranks. Fortunately, great communicators are made, not born—it’s a matter of having the right tools and knowledge.
Instant Solutions to the Most Common Communication Problems
Communication problems begin when you don’t keep an open mind to what others have to say or you refuse to compromise. When you don’t strive to achieve a collaborative solution—everybody loses.
Remain objective. If you allow your emotions to take over, you can’t be objective—and you lose your effectiveness as a communicator
Listen. Listen for feelings as well as for content
Ask questions. Paraphrase and ask questions to reinforce your understanding of what the other person is saying. This reinforces your attentiveness to the conversation.
Concentrate on common ground. Understand the feelings the other person is experiencing. It helps reduce the differences.
Create common ground. When you create common ground, you’re sending a strong message of support to the other person. When you purposely mirror (imitate) another person, you’re telling that person, non-verbally, that you want to cooperate with them.
Techniques for Handling Disagreements
The most powerful tool when handling disagreements is best expressed by Stephen R. Covey: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” If you make an effort to listen to and empathize with the other person, they will make an effort to reciprocate and listen to your point of view.
Use caution. Proceed slowly and with care. Let the other person state their position first.
Get a full understanding of arguments. Listen to as much information as you can about the other person’s position.
Find out how firm their position is. If the other person hasn’t indicated how strongly they feel about the argument, ask them at an appropriate time. After all, they might not feel all that strongly, and the disagreement may be settled quickly.
State your case. After you’ve heard the other side, and at the appropriate time (wait until their emotions have eased), tell your side as briefly, clearly and objectively as you can.
Compromise. Be ready to both receive and give concessions to save the situation and to help the other person save face.
The Five Most Powerful Words in the English Language: “I am proud of you.”
In order to motivate, you have to validate people as individuals. People are strongly motivated when their efforts are recognized and acknowledged. These five words are listed as the #1 motivator for most employees.
So there you have it. Use these tips and practice them and you’ll probably surprise yourself at how quickly you become a great communicator. Who knows, in no time at all you can be one of those people that others look at and admire for how easy you make it all look.