As a New Manager, Don’t Get Too Carried Away

A cartoon sweats as he takes a call from his boss

Being promoted to a new manager role can be a heady experience. But don’t get too carried away with your new positional power or assume you need to be in charge of every task your team members undertake.

This is called micromanaging and its effect on your team performance can be really harmful. If you truly want to build a high performance team that succeeds because every team member understands their role and is equipped and committed to handle their part, then you may need to get out of the way.

Yes, you want to be sure your team produces quality work but constantly looking over their shoulders is not the way. No doubt you once worked for a manager who micromanaged you. How did it make you feel? You probably felt less committed to the job and less committed to working hard. Both your morale and productivity were affected. Is this what you want on your new team?

Here, from new manager training best practices, is how it might look if you are unconsciously micromanaging and why you should change your behavior:

1. Do you hover?
This can be done by unnecessary email check-ins or phone calls. Making yourself available for questions or requests for help is different. Instead of a show of support, the check-ins signal a lack of your confidence that the job will be done right. Don’t undermine your employees’ belief in themselves. Give them the chance they deserve to learn how to do the job correctly and efficiently. They may even have a better approach than the one you intended to teach them!

2. Do you insist on approving everything before it goes out the door?
What a waste of your time and theirs. Your office becomes a choke point in the work process. Sure, some work products require your review but, for the most part, once you have established clear quality standards, let your team apply them without your frequent overview.

3. Do you interfere because you think you can do the job faster, better?
Your interference is likely to be completely counterproductive. It’s just like teaching your children how to wash the car. Set the standards, gain agreement, and then walk away. You will only frustrate yourself by watching the stops and starts as the learner begins. Sure, you know just how much soap is needed and what sponge to use. But it’s best if they learn on their own how to shine up that car.

Trust that your employees have the skills to turn in an excellent work product. It should be more about the product than the process. And won’t it be great next time you need the job done to turn it over with confidence? This is called delegation and is a tool the best managers know how to use well.

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