Rise Performance Group

The Secret of Successful Micromanagement

1.14.13By Sally Ann Moyer

It’s time to turn some common management misconceptions on their heads. Everything you thought you knew might be wrong, or at least everything you accepted, without questioning it.

Micromanagement ranks fairly high on the list of office dirty words. No employees want someone constantly looking over their shoulders, and no boss wants to waste time constantly checking in with employees. There’s a different way to micromanage, though, and it’s one that is often necessary for a successful working environment. In fact, some of your perceived best practices could be bringing you down while micromanagement may be the remedy your organization needs.

Successful micromanagement begins with evaluating some of your company’s current so-called best practices. Well-defined systems and structures are a necessary foundation for productivity. Take a look at why your company follows some of the procedures it does and you will be able to fix the root of the problem quicker.

To illustrate a falsely perceived best practice in the newspaper industry, a recent HBR blog recounted how newspapers had continued to print newspapers on the larger broadsheet format even though it was not economical. Newspaper companies assumed “customers would want it” and refuse to buy the smaller tabloid size because of its negative associations. However, companies that switched to the tabloid size ended up seeing a surge in circulation. Newspapers that still resisted had fallen into the trap of tradition for tradition’s sake without accurately gauging the demands of their readership.

Are you resisting a cost-cutting structural change in your company because you are afraid of how it will sit with your employees? If you are letting precedent or industry norms hold you back from innovation, then you’re also holding your company back from an independent chance for growth and success. The systems that bring your company success should be unique because these are the fundamental differences that will help you stand out. Resist the majority rules or peer pressure trap to conform to how other businesses are operating.

uniqueMany best practices begin as something that was beneficial but they can deteriorate into something that is no longer serving helpful purposes. When this happens, micromanagement is necessary for a safe recovery.

Poor micromanagement is leaders who fill “their days with tasks that belong in someone else’s daily planner.” In this situation, no one is performing at their prime because managers are neglecting their own duties and subordinates are not given the space to accomplish theirs. Good micromanagement helps your company’s operations run smoothly. Setting plans, creating reliable systems and training your employees can empower them without you standing over their shoulders. Build the correct environment so that micromanagement is subtle and appears only as operations running well and employees developing into leaders.

The best micromanagement is subtle. These are the systems and structures you cannot realize the importance of until they are gone. For example, you are micromanaged every time you drive on the highway as you follow predetermined roads and maintain certain speeds. This sort of micromanagement keeps you safe. Developing effective employee communication systems can do the same thing for your company. If you have a firm foundation, you can help prevent crises from occurring.

Evaluate your company’s best practices by seeing what would happen if they were to disappear. Do they align with other structures that have helped your organization succeed? Remember, keep micromanagement subtle so that you can empower your employees instead of checking up on them.

What effective systems and structures has your company developed?

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