Micro Managing Employees

Micro Managing Employees
June 12, 2016 Gary Shotton

One of the best ways an owner or manager can stop the growth and improvement in your company is to be a micro-manager of their employees. By Gary Shotton #000049

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Micro Management

By Gary Shotton

I’m going to talk about a sin. The sin of micromanagement. A sin that applies to me, and and maybe in someways to all of us.

And why would I say that’s a sin? Anything that steals, kills, and destroys, tears down people, or tears down situations, is a sin.

Maybe we don’t think of micromanaging as a sin, but it’s a serious as any other sin and can be just as destructive.I’ve been in business 45 years now. For at least 35 years I’ve owned a business. So micromanaging is something I have struggled with almost as long as I’ve been in business. My sin is no different than any other, no less A problem more than any other sin like alcoholism…I’m a recovering micromanager.

Put that nail here…

When I was a young engineer in Wyoming, as head of a major construction mineral processing operation,I worked for probably the worst micromanager ever.He’s not on this earth anymore,so I don’t think anyone will be offended.. He was a great guy, probably in his 60’s, (He was my age at that point, I was in my early 20s and he was like a grandpa.) but his style of management was so derogatory.

He wouldn’t cuss them out, it was worse, he wouldn’t let them do their job. He felt the need to hover over them and control every task. I remember one time when he told his carpenters to put some concrete forms together so we could pour concrete. Something they were totally capable of accomplishing on their own but Dub would come out there, and you had to do it exactly like he wanted it. They would put up a form, and they’d put a nail it, and in Dub would say “No, pull that nail, I don’t want that nail there. Put the nail over here.” He micromanaged them to the point they just said “You tell me the next move, I’ll put it where you want. You want the nail here? Fine, put a dot where you want me to driveit. I’ll do whatever you want.” But, they were not thinking at all. They just let Dub do all the thinking. That’s what happens with micromanaging.

Intensive intentional Management

Those of us guilty of micromanagement can swing too far in the opposite direction if we’re not careful. There’s a time to step in to encourage, instruct, share ideas, and even take control.

When I go through a downturn in my business,I’m here more often. I’m here longer. I’m involved, I’m concerned. Not worried, but concerned that we can make it through a low period. I’m seeing things that we need to be more efficient in. It happened yesterday. We have a wonderful warehouse manager, does a great job, but somebody had set a new policy that was counterproductive.I have stuff on the palette, and I’m thinking.Why in the world would you set a pallet where they just were working, and it seemed very counterproductive to me. Sometimes, we all need someone from the outside to observe what we’re doing to give us a different point of view. We can get so focused on our task they were not thinking of how it fits into the bigger picture. That’s not micromanaging when you are helping somebody accomplish their task more efficiently.

There’s a real balance we all have to find.

People will just step back and let you do it if you are too controlling. We should view our role as more of a coach reminding the players of the playbook, and encouraging them along the way.

“Hi my name is Gary and I’m in micromanager”

I must confessI’ve lost good employees. I’ve paid the price of micromanagement.

I’m addicted to micromanaging. So if I’m not careful, then at some point my good leaders will find another job. Not cool. What we’re looking for is results. Focus on the outcomes, get involved only if production is trending downward. Remind the players what the playbook says. Help them to be team players focusing on the ultimate goal.

You need to have some guidelines. That’s where the study of systems comes in. If you have repeated process, repeated product, then you know you can work on the systems as the leader. That’s not micromanaging. A manager puts in good processes and lets his people function fully in their abilities.

. But, at the end of the day, you want the people working for you thinking you want them coming up with ideas, and you’re the one that has to culminate, draw that in. Lead by a habit of consensus.You’ve got to ask for their ideas. You can’t ridicule the thoughts. You have to open up to the fact they may do it different, and probably better than, if you’ve hired a qualified talented people

That’s my challenge now. I make a point to be gone. It’s not that I don’t know what’s going on, I always have a good feel for what’s going on my shop. But I can schedule a five Week absence and I am confident that they can carry on without me. We’ve trained them to think rather than micromanaging how they do things. We’ve written the playbook, develop the systems, lead by example, and now the rest is up to them. Very rarely have I been disappointed when I let the team accomplish the task they are assigned to do and are well capable of.


1 Comment

  1. B. Jensen 6 years ago

    I enjoyed your insights on micro management. Honestly, it’s an area I need to work on as well. Thanks Gary!

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