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Micromanagement
and Delegation

Micromanagement or delegation .. no prizes for guessing which doesn't belong in a high performance team! Here's the warning signs of micromanaging and how to delegate the high performance way.

Micromanagement and delegation. One belongs in a high-performance team, and the other doesn't. No prizes for guessing which belongs where!

As you move up the leadership ladder, the need to get your goals achieved through others becomes a critical skill to fine-tune. Unfortunately, most of us have a bit of 'control-freak' in us. Let's make sure this doesn't derail your career. In the "Starting Your Ideal Leadership Role with A Bang" training, we discuss the five key behaviors that cause people to derail as they transition into more senior positions. And you guessed it ~ Micromanaging Direct Reports is in that list!

The 'snooperviser' is one of the most frustrating and challenging of all leaders to work for. Let's take a quick look at whether you are guilty of micromanaging ... which will put the brakes on your high-performance leadership journey.


Micromanaging Snooperviser Overview


Constantly checking on people because they need to ensure everything is done 'right'. Quick to correct, yet slow to praise. 

  • Characteristics: Fear driven, control and trust issues, perfectionist
  • Perceived as: Distrustful, uncaring, controlling, mistake finder
  • People & Results: Frustrated, stressed, miserable, give-up-it is, just a job, do enough to keep my job, no innovation, creativity, inspiration, disempowered

Signs You are Micromanaging

1.  You've got high turnover. People up and leave when they feel:

  • they aren't given the freedom to do their job correctly and/or
  • their talents are being wasted and/or
  • they aren't learning and growing

Anyone capable and ambitious person will not hang around someone who frustrates and blocks their progress.


Losing good people from your team sends warning bells to your senior leadership team, and this will put the brakes on your career.


2.  You've got low morale. People who don't feel they can contribute in a meaningful way lose their loyalty and commitment to the objectives of the organization. When the feeling they can make a difference withers up and dies, lethargy and apathy set in.


3.  Your demotivated team is providing lower quality work, with no creativity. People give up and decide to go along with whatever you want, simply because it's easier. What's more, because you've trained your team not to think, not make an effort... because you'll only come in over the top of them ... they will miss, or not bother reporting, opportunities to improve the business.


4.  Productivity, profitability, and new business development are all declining. Because you spend so much time 'working in the business', you don't have time to 'work on the business'. You'll be bogged down amongst the trees, and won't have the time to use your creative talents to improve and enhance systems, and create the bright future the organization needs.

5.  You are focused on the wrong priorities. Overwhelmed at the volume of work to get done, may cause you to work on the lower-level tasks at the expense of the more significant, longer-range activities and thinking that drive business success.


6.  Your career progress has stalled. Nobody promotes people who don't create a strong bench of leaders in their team. Your position description will have something in it about developing people in your team. Snoopervisers don't do this. So you're failing at one of the fundamentals of all great leadership.


7.  You're burnt out and/or your family life is stressful. You work more extended hours, weekends, etc, purely trying to get it all done. There'll be an absence of flow in your life because you won't have time to work on the tasks that you love to do and in which your strengths can shine.

Discover How to Easily Delegate Work

Access, How To Delegate

Be Warned! This is Micromanagement and Not Delegation:

  • Only giving out superficial, simplistic, tedious, unappealing, tasks
  • The delegatee can decide nothing of significance unless s/he obtains approval
  • Providing detailed directions and methodologies, thereby limiting the ownership and creativity input of the delegatee
  • Little if any chance for the delegatee to learn from completing the assignment
  • Taking back the task at the first hint of trouble, thereby failing the delegatee by not allowing him/her to learn from experience
  • Requiring detailed reports on how the work will be done
  • Focusing on procedural minutia and trivia rather than overall results, quality, and performance
  • Blaming the delegatee when something goes wrong (Read here how this relates to your level of self-esteem)

Turning it Around: From Micromanagement to Delegation

As I explain in "How To Delegate So You Get it Done, Done Well, Done on Time" trust is one of the essential elements in all high performing teams. What, and how, you delegate is one of the core indicators of the trust levels between you and your team members. Dumping unwanted or overflow tasks is not high-performance delegation.


Here's how you can move more toward high-performance leadership:

  • Give out assignments that challenge and enable the delegatee to grow beyond their current skillset and which professionally develops them
  • Give people the authority to make decisions and deliver the results required
  • Spend time with the team developing the values and principles that the team operate by, so you deliver results that enables the individuals and the organization to walk proudly
  • When something goes wrong, focus on learning what could be done differently next time and develop solutions to allow the delegatee to resolve the mistake
  • Spend time setting goals with the team and planning with them how they might like to achieve the goals
  • Establish the criteria by which success is judged
  • Create an environment through which vigorous and open debate of ideas and methodologies can occur
  • Set up systems that monitor performance and measure progress
  • Build relationships with team members that inspire them to give of their best for you and their team
  • Become a better you, through continuous learning and development

Hot Tip

Do You Find Yourself Micromanaging Just One Person ...

and delegating well to all others in your team?


This suggests that the problem may belong to the team member. Maybe they have under-delivered, broken promises or aren't quite at the skill level required to hand over the particular assignment completely.


Here's one technique to identify the causes of underperformance and what to do about it

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