Micromanaging can feel like a yolk holding you back from the freedom that as entrepreneurs, we desperately desire.
In our organization, Cadey and I work with many entrepreneurs who avoid micromanaging like the plague. The problem is these business owners, like many others, end up providing almost no management for fear of micromanaging.
There are very few people, if any, who like being micromanaged. The discrepancy between managing and micromanaging is simple, a perspective difference -- the perspective of the business owner and perspective of the team members.
Business owners want to have freedom. They want the freedom to unleash their creative minds, so they can build the business they envision. They also want a team that can independently support them, and help them drive towards that vision.
In order to do this, it is essential that the entrepreneur gives their team direction and guidance -- it is what the team desires most.
Imagine this scenario: An individual is told to get in a car and drive without being told where their destination is, but they are expected to end up at the unknown destination. The driver would aimlessly drive without making any real progress on reaching their destination. They would probably feel incredibly frustrated, disgruntled, and eventually lose motivation.
Without giving your team a goal, direction, and feedback on their progress they will feel like the driver in the car -- confused, frustrated and disgruntled.
Your team not only wants you to give them direction and feedback, but they also want accountability. It is unrealistic to have standards of accountability, but not make them clear to the individuals being held to them. If a member of the team is slacking, and you choose to avoid the situation, you are sanctioning this behavior and derailing your high performers.
Direction and accountability are essential tools that business owners can use to empower their teams to independently reach their goals. The real question is, "How?"
First, we must change our perception of micromanaging. Giving your team a goal and empowering them to find a direction to get there is not micromanaging. Standing over someone's shoulder, or managing everything to an internal email is micromanagement. Most of the time an entrepreneur ends up micromanaging, because they do not give their team a clear goal and direction. This causes the individual to need more management since they have no targets to aim at.
Let's look back to our lost driver; without a clear goal or directions, they would need a lot of "babysitting" or support to end up to the undisclosed location. For the individual in the passenger seat, the "babysitter," this mirrors what we call micromanaging. The co-pilot would have to give them turn-by-turn directions for the entire journey while also trying to support them as they drive. The lack of clarity from the undisclosed destination would not only lead to a lot of mistakes (that would need correcting), but it would lead to mass confusion and friction between the two individuals.
When your team has a destination, with directions on how to get there and support from you along the way they will be able to independently arrive there without a large amount of your time. If we were to have given that driver a map with a destination selected, and support on how to get there, they would have hit the gas and independently sailed down the highway. There would not have been confusion or friction between the two individuals in the car. Instead, they probably would both be jamming out to The Eagles as they harmoniously sailed down the highway.
When an entrepreneur empowers their team, they empower themselves to have the creative freedom they desire. Use these quick tips to empower your team with independence:
- Make Your Destination Clear- Make sure you spell out exactly what you want them to do. Paint a picture of what a successful completion would look like to you, and make sure to answer all of their questions to avoid ambiguity.
- Road Maps Are Welcome- If you have an idea of the path you want your team to take, then let them know. You can never be too clear, so make sure that if you want something done a specific way to let your team know how.
- Support Them With Clarity- Make sure to check in during the project, and support them if they need any clarity along the way.
- Accountability- Make sure to hold them accountable to the expectations you set. Don't be afraid to have those tough conversations to ensure that your team is working at their highest level cohesively.
When you empower your team to work independently with clear goals, direction, and accountability, you also empower yourself to work creatively in the things you desire most.
Alex & Cadey Charfen are the Co-Founders of the Charfen Institute.