I live in a home full of miss-matched socks. There are five people and each person has at least 30 pairs of socks. I find socks in the couch, the backyard, backpacks, the car….everywhere except in the hamper. I constantly ask, demand and make consequences about the socks. And no one listens. Turns out the socks are inconsequential and my voice on this topic is just noise.
Similarly the workplace is full of “noise”. Managers, supervisors, or any person in an authoritative type role has the ability to slip into the mode of micromanagement. The need to control ones environment takes over common logic of letting the small things go and allowing people to conduct job duties in their own way.
First, is micro managing truly bad? And, why does this happen? Finally, why don’t we see it when it is happening?
The answer is yes, people don’t like to be micromanaged. Constant micromanagement leads to frustration, a stifled learning environment and complete lack of engagement. At home my kids will endure 20 seconds of hearing me versus perpetual sock duty. This happens in the office too. Sometimes these tendencies can stem from previous experience at a job and thinking that my way is the best way. Or, it can be the need to not let someone else fail, thinking it is a reflection on ourselves. And the most common reason; control. Micromanagement actions can sneak up on a person, especially moving through a career path of progressively more responsible positions. It can be hard to let go of things we know we do well and move into the uncharted territory of the unknown. This is why it is critical to recognize and understand how to manage the micromanagement both at work and at home.
Here are a few tips:
- Let people/kids make mistakes. Making mistakes are a great way to learn. Apply a few simple consequences and move on.
- Give trust in order to receive trust. Go ahead and trust people (and your kids). They might surprise you.
- Save the micro management for the moments you really need it. A critical project. Or the real dangers with kids like drugs and alcohol.
- Let it go. Really? I’m going to spend my energies on lecturing the kids about socks?
- Focus on the bigger picture. What matters to the person? I don’t care how a person manages their work process as long as the final project is done on time. And no, I won’t lecture about socks, but I control the car keys when they want them. This position removes the nit-picking and focuses on bigger goals that empower a person to achieve them in their own way.
Recall for a moment the boss you had somewhere along the line that micro managed you. It wasn’t much fun and you didn’t give your best work. Let’s raise to consciousness the mindset to empower our kids at home and teach them to be leaders, not micromanagers. They will do what they see.