Managing employees can be just as stressful as being an employee yourself. No matter what rung of the ladder you fall on, at the end of the day it’s still a job with daunting tasks and burdensome responsibilities. However, managing the stress of the job by micromanaging your employees is a sure-fire way to send you otherwise great company into a perpetual downfall.
Do you find yourself constantly worrying how your employee’s work will reflect on you as their manager? Are you constantly stressing out over the little details of a project, the ones you hired on staff to handle based on their qualifications? Have you caught yourself trying to juggle everyone else’s responsibilities on top of your own?
If you answered yes to any of the above, or thought of any similar scenarios, then you are indeed micromanaging. Think about the added stress this causes you in a work day, then imagine that each and every employee under you feels the same way. Did you know that stress is associated with a 15.4 percent increase in the chance of literally sending you and your workers to an early grave, and that there is research to prove it?
Loosening your grip on the reigns is a hard feat to accomplish, but understanding the benefits of letting go once in a while might give you the incentive to do it. Here’s what you can do to ease the stress and watch your company’s workplace turn into a thriving productive machine.
Include Your Staff in Goal-Setting
The number reason managers begin to micromanage is the fear that their employees will fail to perform their tasks correctly, ultimately making their superior look bad. This leads many bosses to set goals based on what they want from their employees with no consideration to the motivation behind the goal.
In other words, your employees are motivated to meet company goals when they can see purpose in their work. That might sound like a cop-out these days. Who takes true pride in their work anymore? However, when they are satisfied with how their work contributes to the overall success of your company, that’s when your business benefits the most.
Maybe they’re just meeting deadlines because they’re thinking about the health insurance they might lose, or which bills will come out of their next paycheck instead of how they can contribute to your business success during their workday. You all need to be on the same page, but that can’t happen without talking about it.
Sit down and have a conversation with your staff about your organization’s goals. If your company is dependent on salespeople, for example, simply telling them what numbers they need to hit this quarter will only make them work hard enough to not lose their jobs. Including them in the bigger picture and asking them how they can contribute to it, on the other hand, is guaranteed to make them value their accomplishments. How do they fit in to the grand scheme, and what their role vital?
Keep Your Conversations a Two-Way Street
Micromanagement’s largest setback is that it’s one sided. While you can see a goal work from start to completion one way, an employee might see that same goal reached via another path. Instead of barking out orders, simply ask employees for their ideas and opinions.
Under what circumstances do they do their best work? What helps them to be more efficient? One employee might function like clockwork in the cubicle, while another thrives under the independence of remote work. As long as the job gets done and they do it well, does it really matter what method they chose to do it in?
Speaking of Remote Work
A lot of managers, and not just the micro kind, fear the remote working position. It takes employees out of your line of sight, and therefore out of your control. The truth is, these types of individuals simply work better without the distractions of the office or having someone looking over their shoulder. It hasn’t hurt Google in the slightest, and it won’t hurt your company either.
Employee Recognition Needs to be Personal
What would you have liked better as a child, receiving $5 for doing your chores or having the choice between the money and a candy bar that costs the same price? As it turns out, our adult brains are wired to enjoy having the choice better too.
When an employee goes above and beyond to help your company succeed, giving them a reward you have chosen says, “I have decided how you should feel good about your work.” Instead, consider the normal reward and come up with a series of equivalent alternatives, then let the employee choose from them. It gives your entire staff that much more incentive to outperform themselves time and time again.
Base Your Feedback on Results
Running a business is trial and error, you’ve learned that through years of hard work and dedication. If you want your employees to have the same level of drive and determination for success that you do, then they need to learn the same way.
Micromanagers focus on the process of an employee’s work, providing feedback that simply tells them to do things another way before the fruits of their labor are ever ready for harvest. Instead, focus your feedback on their results. Were the expectations you set for their project met? If not, they already know it.
Your employees are capable of looking at their results and considering which parts of their process worked compared to which ones didn’t. Have an open conversation with them and ask what they think happened before saying anything else. You’ll be surprised at the answers you receive.
This will give you an incredible insight into their strengths and weaknesses, which will allow you to help them grow their talents in a positive way. Mistakes are bound to happen, but learning from them is the key to success.