Delegation is key to success, and you know that. So, you handed over a task or project to your team to get it done, but you’re so invested in the outcome that it’s hard to resist the urge to control everything that happens. This is called micromanaging, and it won’t help if you want to scale a successful business.
The truth is this: If you’re repeatedly peering over their shoulder while they work, it defeats the purpose of delegating in the first place. It takes a lot of time to simultaneously manage their tasks as well as your own. Plus, it doesn’t give your team much confidence in their own work and might even cause them to feel under-utilized. A great leader can overcome this by learning ways to strengthen the very team that they’re tempted to second-guess.
To stop micromanaging and start empowering your team, let’s take a look at how to do that with effective delegation.
What is Micromanaging, and Why It Happens?
Micromanaging happens when a leader hasn’t placed trust in the abilities of someone else, and doesn’t give them a chance to perform a task, project or role. This can happen for many reasons. Perhaps, as a leader, you’ve had a bad experience with delegating tasks in the past. Perhaps goals and tasks were not clearly identified and you wind up feeling like it’s easier to just do the task yourself. However, these are no reasons to stop believing in the ability of well-trained and hard-working people.
Other conscious or subconscious reasons for micromanaging? Maybe you’ve been working solo for so long that handing over control to someone else (even for a small task) feels daunting. Fear, lack of confidence, or lack of ability to communicate can play a part in micromanaging. It’s pretty normal, but there are ways of moving away from micromanaging by investing in your team.
A leader who micromanages can be so passionate that they lose sight of the importance of having a great team around to help drive that success. The temptation to take on way too much out of sheer stubbornness or pride is pretty easy to understand. The passion isn’t the problem. The action just needs to be redirected.
At the heart of it, honest and effective leadership involves learning to delegate well and then taking a step back for the team to perform their role. Communication is key – the more you and your team know about the task or project, the easier it will be to instruct, follow-up, and achieve a successful outcome. The confidence and trust in others will come with time, especially if you see great results.
How to Delegate Effectively
Your team is around to help, and that means that trying to do everything yourself can actually cut you off from their skills. Delegating effectively develops your team and spreads the work that needs to be done across skilled members that can take action, too. If you want to stop micromanaging and start empowering your team, the following are three ways to make that happen.
Set clear expectations of success
Identify what problems need to be solved, by when, and what a successful solution will look like. The more you know about your task in advance, the more comfortable you’ll feel about stating those parameters and handing over the trust. Your team will have a clear understanding of their role and can act more decisively.
Delegate authority along with responsibility
This is really where we see the empowerment side of delegation. By strategically handing over the authority on a task or action, you’re empowering your team to make the decisions to see it through with success.
You’ll need to decide ahead of time which decisions you truly must make yourself and which decisions your team will be responsible for making. Clearly communicate those roles and then make the assignments.
Let your team make mistakes
It’s bound to happen, plain and simple. We are all human and mistakes are part of the learning process. Every time you delegate, you are giving your team an opportunity to learn and grow. With the right feedback, your team should be correcting their mistakes as they go – and this gives you the opportunity to recognize the team members who are able to course-correct.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but letting your team make mistakes is a positive learning experience for you just as much as it is for them. This is part of the process of identifying who to empower with more authority. The employee who quickly adjusts after a mistake is showing their ability to make better decisions.
Watch Delegating: 3 Tips to Delegate Effectively to get even more insight into the power of empowering your team through this key aspect of honest leadership.
The Bottom Line
Empowering your team through effective delegation is the best way to get out of the micromanagement loop and on your way to great leadership. As scary as it might be to turn over control for certain tasks, the confidence in your team – and extra help when you need it most – is worth the effort. You’ll spend more time leading, and less time over-engaging in tasks that can be shared with someone else. In short, you’ll spend less time working in your business so you can start spending more time working on the business.
If you’re looking for leadership guidance, you can find it at Evil Genius Leadership Consultants. We’ll deep dive into particular leadership challenges you face on your team and develop solutions to turn them into positive outcomes. We develop your professional skills to become a great communicator and influencer at your workplace and beyond. You can learn more about our coaching packages here.