If you’re like many Entrepreneurs, one of the reasons you said goodbye to the corporate rat-race was “freedom.” The freedom to be your own boss. The freedom to do things your own way and not have to worry about someone looking over your shoulder or breathing down your neck.
So you strike out on your own and start living the dream. As you do, you develop a whole new set of work habits, doing things 100% your way, all the time. That’s especially true if you begin your Entrepreneurial adventure as a “Solopreneur.”
Sooner or later though, as your business grows and thrives, you’re probably going to reach a point where you need help. Time to bring someone else into the fold. At that point, you’ve got to be careful not to morph into the thing you despise. Having spent so long a time doing things your way, it’s easy to fall into the trap of micromanaging anyone you bring on later.
Here are a few signs that you are a micromanager.
- You believe that you are smarter and better skilled than your employees.
- You seldom make mistakes and miss a deadline.
- You frequently assert your authority to make a point.
- You need to know what your employees are working on and what they are doing at each moment of the day.
- You feel a need to control others and constantly want them to “check in.”
- You focus on the “how” and want to set the terms instead of letting your employees figure it out on their own.
- You don’t handle “mistakes” well and have a tendency to “blame.”
- You “tell” rather than “ask.”
- You are critical of everyone and easily frustrated, pointing out the smallest of mistakes.
- You spend much time correcting and revising things your employees did.
If these are things that you are having difficulty agreeing with and if this is how you operate, there is still time to CHANGE!
First: Admit It – Recognizing You, The Micromanager
Not only is this horrible for productivity and morale, but it’s toxic to your fledgling company’s culture. Remember, culture is born from the seeds you sow yourself. By setting the tone of micromanagement that’s going to filter down into every corner of the company. As you add more people and additional layers of management, you can bet that your managers will take their cues from you. If you’re doing it, they probably will too.
Second: How To Fix It
The good news is that recognizing the problem is pretty easy.
One of the hardest things to master as an Entrepreneur is the fine art of delegation. Part of the reason that delegation is such a difficult skill to master is that a prerequisite for its mastery is the understanding and acceptance that everybody’s different. People probably aren’t going to approach work and problem solving in exactly the same way you do. They’re going to have their own methodologies. And that’s okay!
Rather than focusing on the process, focus on the end results. As long as the work is getting done, and getting done well, does it really matter that your employee takes a slightly different route than you would in getting it done? In almost every case, the answer is no. It doesn’t make a bit of difference. The sooner you accept and embrace that, the sooner you’ll divorce yourself from your own tendency to micromanage.
Micromanaging is an easy trap to fall into. It may well stem from the fact that you probably spent a considerable time growing and nurturing your company as a solo act. You’ve become a bit “set in your ways.” There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But, it can cause problems if you allow that to carry over to your employees. Don’t start expecting them to do things exactly the same way you would. They won’t. And that shouldn’t be an expectation.
Making the transition from a solo act to an Entrepreneur with employees is one of the toughest aspects of being your own boss. It’s fraught with all sorts of perils and pitfalls. It adds considerably to your stress. The moment you take that step you’ve now got someone working with you who is relying on you for their future and financial security. They’re trusting you to “Captain the Ship” and grow the business so that you and they prosper.
Part of your newly expanded responsibility to your employees is to do that, absolutely. Equally important, though, is to create a working environment that’s fun and enjoyable, and you can’t do that by micromanaging. It’s just not possible.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs