So many changes are occurring in the way we work that there is a growing sense of impatience with many of the old ways of doing things. With the vast libraries of knowledge at our fingertips in the digital age, people are not as apt to give the same kind of automatic reverence to experts and managers that have been a mainstay of the corporate world for generations. Since information is now “open source,” resourceful employees are more likely to see themselves as being on the same level as their managers, and heavy-handed micromanagement techniques may backfire. Here are some alternative approaches.
Enable employees to handle as much of their own onboarding process as possible.
Today’s workers are used to navigating complex digital systems. By allowing them to build their own employee profiles, for example, and directly access information about the company culture, goals, and expectations, you’ll let them discover what they need to know on their own terms, in the way that works best for them.
Provide a framework of resources employees can access independently.
Giving independent-minded employees direct access to the information they need to operate more autonomously can go a long way toward building trust.
Don’t rely on any assumptions or past experience.
If you approach independent employees in partnership, rather than insisting on an artificial subservience, you will find them to be happy participants. While there are probably many things that can only be learned through experience in your workplace, the perception that everything can be learned with a few keystrokes is not completely wrong.
Common sense and a willingness to adjust your approach can really help you work successfully with independent hires. Clear expectations and open communication will also help to make new partnerships successful.
Independent employees are often more motivated to succeed and to expand their knowledge and skills. This increases their value and their ability to contribute meaningfully to your company’s success. Encouraging independence is a real win-win. Your company will benefit, and once they’re set up, you can turn your focus to all of those other areas that may be needing your attention.
The manager’s daily duties now include riding herd over his employees in addition to his own tasks, and the employee being micromanaged never learns or develops productivity on his own. Remove micromanagement, and you and your employees will be working efficiently as a team again.
Unfortunately, though, many managers who are guilty of long-term, debilitating micromanagement are completely oblivious to the destructive effects they are having on the organization as a whole. At its best, micromanagement impedes evolution; at its worst, it causes the entire organization to decay from the inside out.
The first step in avoiding the micromanagement trap (or getting out of it once you’re there) is to recognize the danger signs by talking to your staff or boss. If you’re micromanaged, help your boss see that there is a better way of working. And if you are a micromanager, work hard on those delegation skills and learn to trust your staff to develop and deliver.