Are you a micromanager?
You may not even realize you are. But with the new normal, many managers are struggling on how best to lead their teams and micromanaging is rarely the best of action. Now is the time to let your employees fly and see how they adapt to less managerial oversight.
Business leaders are faced with uncertainty and unpredictability at every turn.
With the COVID-19 virus still waging war across America and many workplaces in turmoil, the urge to regain some sense of control is understandable. Team members who are usually in the office are now working from home, creating a feeling of disconnectedness and fragility, setting the stage for micromanagement tendencies to take hold.
Even in the best of situations, micromanagement is ineffective.
It annoys workers, erodes trust, leads to burnout and increases employee turnover. In our current chaotic environment, micromanagement can be even more toxic and result in additional negative consequences. It may backfire in a big way by putting undue pressure on staff members who are already experiencing major stresses thanks to the virus. That mounting anxiety is bound to cause productivity to falter rather than increase. In order to adapt to the “new normal”, resist the urge to micromanage and instead, focus on how you can help your team to be happier and more productive. Here are some of our suggestions:
Adjust your expectations.
You can’t apply the same expectations that you would in the office. Video call from the kitchen table or a dimly lit room? Dogs barking and kids yelling in the background? It may not be perfect but let’s face it: life at home gets chaotic. These are unprecedented times so recognize that your employees are doing the best they can under the circumstances and get over it.
Understand how your team members best operate.
Micromanaging is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. What may seem like a regular check-in to you might seem intrusive to some or all your employees. Make an effort to know your staff members, what level of independence they prefer, and what’s realistic to get the job done.
Don’t focus on every single detail and error.
Focus on the job actually getting done. If you find a mistake, don’t take back the work, simply let the employee know and give them an opportunity to correct and move forward.
Make friends with technology.
Once you’ve established goals and priorities with your team, products like Slack, Zoom, Trello, and Google Docs can make it easier to share updates and facilitate collaboration.
Documentation is king.
With teams spread out and working from bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and home offices in different time zones, it can be difficult for managers and team members to keep track of who is working on what and when things are due. With good documentation in place, questions are already answered and processes are outlined, allowing workers to be more self-sufficient and more effective.
Be a good listener.
Set aside regularly scheduled time to talk or video chat with each of your direct reports. Depending on their level, that might be daily, every other day, weekly, every other week etc. Do not use this precious time to fire questions on the status of everything. Meaning, make sure your employees are doing most of the talking and that your questions are brief and are used to simply clarify what you are being told and making sure that any advice you provide is actually needed. Find out what issues they are having while working from home and communicate with empathy. Make it clear that you want to hear about any problems so you can tackle them together. In the long run, your active listening will build valuable loyalty within your team.
Promote a sense of team.
It will help you and your employees feel less disconnected and untethered. Maintain as much normalcy as possible by keeping everyone informed about company and department news. Celebrate small and large milestones and encourage peer to peer praise. Say thank you often and practice gratitude.
Say goodbye to micromanagement. Not only is it ineffective, you’ll drive your employees (and yourself) crazy if you try to keep them under a virtual microscope. Does your organization need guidance creating successful work from home processes? The HR Team can help! Please reach out to our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.