When you’re a business owner, especially at a small business or startup, you get to know your employees extremely well. That’s obviously a good thing, because it allows you to become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. But it also makes it incredibly tempting and easy for you to micromanage their work.
That’s exactly what I did back when I was first starting out as the founder and CEO of Company Folders. I was quick to point out people’s mistakes and I would get upset if my team didn’t do things exactly the way that I expected them to. But that style of management only shuts down people’s creativity and creates an unhappy work environment. It also makes your company significantly less efficient because you’re not making use of your employees’ full potential.
Not sure how to cut the cord and stop micromanaging your team? Here are some of the techniques for avoiding micromanagement I wish I had implemented long ago.
Avoiding micromanagement is much easier when you’re confident that you’ve hired the right people. The people who work for you are ultimately what set you apart from your competition, so choose employees you know you can assign important tasks to with minimal direction.
It sounds easy enough, but this is something you really have to commit to. When you’re filling a position, don’t settle for people who aren’t an ideal match. The first step toward a micromanagement-free company is a team of people who can be held accountable.
This is also something to keep in mind even if you’re not actively hiring anyone new. Periodically assess your team’s skills; you might discover that an employee would be more effective in a different position or department within your company.
No matter how knowledgeable you are, trying to do everything by yourself is a recipe for disaster. That’s why it’s vital to delegate responsibilities to key members of your team.
Give your employees ownership of their respective areas. Provide them with the tools, training, and resources they need to succeed. Allow them to make decisions based on their own expertise and creativity. The same goes for decisions that aren’t necessarily made by a single manager; consider putting some issues to a company-wide vote so that everyone has a say.
Often the best style of management is simply stepping out of the way. Try acting more like a facilitator rather than a taskmaster hovering over your employees. Encourage open lines of communication; let your team know that they can come to you whenever they have a problem or a question.
Keep your inquiries to a minimum. Give your team a clear idea of what you expect from them, but don’t constantly check up on them or you’ll only hinder their efficiency.
Don’t get upset if members of your team make small mistakes. Instead, allow them to use them as learning experiences.
Like the old saying goes, “If you love something, set it free.” Giving up control is never easy to do, but I can personally attest that incorporating these simple strategies into my business life has made my company more effective and my employees much happier.
—Vladimir Gendelman is the founder and CEO of Company Folders, Inc., the standard-bearer of online folder printing and the only printing company to offer a 365-day quality guarantee. He is a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.