Ask employees who leave their jobs what drives them to quit, and you'll often hear them point to the fact that they could no longer stand their micromanaging bosses. Now, in some cases, micromanaging is a result of stubbornness coupled with a glaring belief that you are, in fact, always right. But sometimes, micromanagement stems from more innocent factors. Maybe you're just a nervous person by nature, and that manifests in breathing down your workers' necks. Or maybe you're just so eager to please your own boss that you inadvertently make your direct reports miserable.
No matter your reason for micromanaging, it's a habit you'll want to kick as soon as possible -- before your employees quit on you and you get a reputation as that boss nobody wants to work for.
Here are a few steps you can take that'll make you less likely to micromanage.
1. Do a better job of training your employees
The reason you consistently micromanage your team could be that you feel that your employees are ill-equipped to do well on their own. But if that's the case, bringing them up to speed is on you, and you'll need to invest some time into training them so they're capable of working solo. Assess your employees on an individual basis, figure out what skills each is lacking, and then devise a plan for each worker on your team to follow. After some time, you may find that your employees are more competent when left to their own devices, and as such, you'll have an easier time stepping back and letting them do their jobs without constant supervision.
2. Give clear direction
If your employees' output hasn't been up to par as of late, the problem could stem from the fact that they're not being told what's really expected of them. Rather than attempt to combat that issue by watching over your employees all the time, make an effort to give better instructions when dishing out tasks. For major projects, create outlines and find tools that allow you to track your workers' progress without constantly having to ask. And for less involved tasks, take the time to sit down with your employees at the start, explain what's involved, and answer questions up front to avoid confusion.
3. Learn to trust
Stepping back and letting go is not an easy thing to do when you're used to being actively involved in your employees' daily tasks. But if you're intent on kicking your micromanaging habit, then you'll need to learn to trust the people around you. But at the same time, you'll need to start trusting yourself -- namely, having faith that you're a solid manager who's assembled and trained a team of capable employees who have the ability to succeed independently.
Of the various things your workers might say about you as a boss, being labeled as a micromanager is undoubtedly one of the worst. If you've been known to micromanage, make a concerted effort to nip that tendency in the bud -- before it hurts your workplace relationships and damages your career.