Previously, we discussed what happens when business owners get stuck in the Founder’s Cap, and believe that they alone must make all the decisions that propel the company forward. Owners often get tripped up by thinking that they have to manage every detail of the operation – after all, no one understands it as well as they do.
When a small business attains a certain level of success, it’s no longer possible for the owner to rule every aspect of that business. The problem is, many owners have a difficult time letting go and relinquishing control of their “baby.”
Instead, they end up micromanaging perfectly capable employees. To top it off, it also creates a bottleneck effect, causing processes and decisions to slow down and make it nearly impossible for the team to get anything done.
From an employees’ perspective, having the boss looking over their shoulder is frustrating and de-motivating. In fact, whether they realize it or not, micromanaging employees is setting them up to fail in three distinct ways:
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1. It Shuts Off Their Brains. Employees who have the thinking done for them will simply stop thinking for themselves. As mere robots, they no longer have a need to be creative, to seek out solutions or take responsibility.
Micromanaging effectively trains them to instead sit and wait for their next prompt before taking any action. Without risk, there is no innovation; and without innovation it is not possible to expand the employee’s or the company’s potential.
2. It Teaches Tracking Versus Delegating. Tracking is tedious. It’s like strapping a GPS on employees to follow their whereabouts at any given moment. Employees might be given an assignment but they are instructed not to act without first filtering every detail and decision through the corner office.
Such close monitoring virtually paralyzes the employees from acting on their own, and frees them from ever having to be accountable. But with effective delegation, the manager hands off a project and says, “Here’s your task and why doing it to the best of your capabilities is important to us.”
This ensures the employee understands what is expected, is empowered to take action and shares in the responsibility for getting the job done.
3. They Are Left Feeling Unappreciated. Without being given a chance to show what they can bring to the table, underused employees start to think, “Gee, I guess I’m not so special if anyone can do my job.” Feeling unappreciated is a huge de-motivator and a sure-fire way to lose valuable people.
Micromanaging also stifles trust, which every team needs to thrive. In fact, The Great Place to Work Institute, which compiles Fortune magazine’s annual list of the 100 best employers, says that trust between managers and employees is THE primary defining characteristic of the very best workplaces. This is why a business owner must be willing to lead by getting out of their people’s way.
Stand on the sidelines and coach from the peripheral. If you give your team opportunities to prove that they deserve your trust, you’ll be empowering them to succeed and while leading the company toward future growth.