Stop micromanaging, and start micro-coaching

While talking to the people in our team about micromanagement, we found that some of the first things that come to their mind are “my old boss” and “I quit”. All in all, nothing pleasant, because a person who is being micromanaged has no control over their actions. Everything they do is dictated and scripted. Micromanaged people have no ownership of their work, because every step is already planned for them. Their work is managed and organized to a T by someone else, and all they have to do is show up at work and follow the guidelines.

The tides are changing, however. Rather, they should be changing, especially in industries where creative problem solving is needed, because there micromanagement has proven to be counterproductive time and again. The constraints put on people’s work have shown to be detrimental, rather than helpful. We’re not saying management has flown out the window — we’re saying that there are more effective ways of leading your team.

We prefer being managers who coach our teams, and we especially like to micro-coach. And we promise: Micro-coaching is not just a different name for micromanagement.

The era of bossy management is over

Most people have worked under traditional management. You know — a team of people overseen by a higher ranking person, who then refers back to their superior, and so on. The higher ranking person, a.k.a. the manager, would usually gather up their team every week, or even every day, and tell them the plan. The agenda is usually made up of things like 1) stuff that needs to be done 2) how they need to be done 3) who should do them, and 4) the ultimate goal. Not much wiggle room left.

Well, over the years, this kind of management became less and less effective. Also, the millennials are now filling up the workplace, and they prefer coaching over old-school management. People didn’t appreciate being bossed around. They wanted to be heard. Because they devoted time and put a lot of effort into their education, they wanted to use the knowledge they gained. They wanted to express their thoughts and show people their ideas. The constraints on creativity that micromanagement put had to be erased. Creativity needs room to breathe!

A serious side effect of micromanagement is that it removes accountability from the people actually doing the work, and everything falls on the manager. This not only burdens the manager, but it actually disengages people from their work. Since they never have the final say, they don’t care as much. They don’t have a reason to always do their best.

Work can be stressful as is, so having someone breathing down your neck can make your anxiety levels skyrocket! When a person is working under a micromanager, they can never be relaxed at work, because they know that someone is watching their every move. Besides the whole project they’re working on, people now have to worry about details like using spaces over tabs.

The age of micro-coaching is in full swing

Management which is focused on coaching, rather than telling people what to do, is much more effective. Merely guiding your team, instead of dictating their every move, allows them to come up with their own ways of solving problems, as well as be more creative. By often asking and giving feedback, you’re more likely to avoid possible issues. When you actually act on the feedback you’re given, you’re establishing trust with your team. They then know they can rely on you to help them.

One of the best practices of managing your team like this, is micro-coaching. Basically, micro-coaching consists of short interactions with your team, or individual team members, where you help them with whatever problem they may have. Also, you can just take the time and praise their good work.

One example of micro-coaching is helping your team define the problem they’re having. Sometimes people might get overwhelmed or really stressed about a certain issue they’re having at work, and can’t seem to resolve it. The reason for this is because they can’t get to the root of the problem. Here’s where you step in, and help them figure things out.

It’s not uncommon for people to get caught in details. Although being detail-oriented isn’t necessarily a bad quality, it can make people lose sight of the ultimate goal. Knowing what the goal for that week or month is, helps people stay on track. If you see your team forgetting what the goal is, take a few minutes to course-correct.

If a team starts working on a new project, it might be overwhelming. It might seem like they won’t meet the deadlines, but that’s where you step in. Working with your team, you can help them organize their work and priorities. Once everyone has their priorities straight, they’ll be much more productive, and then can be in sync with the rest of the team.

Techniques like this are welcome in any workplace, no matter what your job is. They can only be beneficial, so they can be used anytime.

To conclude…

A quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the writer of The Little Prince perfectly sums up this blog post. He said: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up your men to collect wood and give orders and distribute the work. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

The bottom line is that things have definitely changed in the workplace. Teams who don’t have a bossy manager, but instead a person who considers themselves an equal to every other member of the team, have shown to be much more productive. They are also more engaged with their work, always strive to be better, and are not afraid to think out of the box.

Visit our website, and see how we can help you become a micro-manager: