There’s a Fine Line Between Attention to Detail and Micromanagement
This is the next entry in the Fine Line Series, highlighting the often razor-thin margin between essential and detrimental leadership behaviors. Exhibit a particular behavior and you’re a champion; overdo it just a little bit and you’re a chump. How do you know where the line between them is, and how can you avoid crossing over it?
It’s often said that the “Devil’s in the details.” How true: Leaders must stay aware of what’s going on, what and how their teams are really doing and what they’re up against. But getting too wrapped up in details can be consuming and distracting. You lose sight of the strategic view; when you need to see the forest, all you see in front of you are trees.
When you need to see the forest, all you see in front of you are trees.
While leaders must be aware of details, they truly can only concentrate on so many things at one time—and they must concentrate on the big picture. So to avoid micromanaging, leaders need to train and equip their teams to understand, evaluate and monitor the key details.
This is, obviously, where the rubber meets the road. Because as teams get trained and equipped, leaders must then take the most difficult step.
“And Your Point Is…?”
Micromanaging is ultimately an issue of trust: Leaders must trust their teams to execute (which includes dealing with details). If you don’t trust your team, then you need to determine why. Only then will you discover the keys to stop micromanaging them.
If you don’t trust your team, then you need to determine why.
So why don’t you trust them?
- Are they not well enough trained?
- Is it a matter of communication or unclear expectations?
- Are they unwilling, unengaged or under-motivated?
- Are you not letting go?
- Is your expertise so great that it’s a barrier?
- Have you given them the authority?
A thought: Don’t just train them to do their job, train them to do your job. This is, of course, the principle. Equip them so they can make decisions on their own. I’m not suggesting they can replace you; I’m merely suggesting that the more training and authority you give them the more effective they’ll be—and the less you’ll have to be consumed by the details.
For more thoughts on how to avoid micromanaging, download my free eBook, To Get it Done, You’ve Got to Give Away: Uncovering the Barriers to Phenomenal Delegation.
Don’t just train them to do their job, train them to do your job.
The Big Picture
The principles of micromanaging are the same whether the setting is a corporate manager or a helicopter parent of an adolescent: At the proper time, it’s in everyone’s best interests to let them execute on their own.
At the proper time, it’s in everyone’s best interests to let them execute on their own.
Your Next Step
In what ways could you trust your team more, and what will you do to strengthen that trust level?