What Happens When Small Business Owners Micromanage
Dan Levenson July 05, 2018
Many small business owners quickly fall into the trap of micromanaging. They’re often convinced that the only way to be sure that things are done exactly the way they want them done is by keeping directly on top of their employees at all times.
Unfortunately, that strategy isn’t always as effective as micromanagers might hope—not to mention the many downsides it has for your small business.
Why Small Business Owners Micromanage
It’s little wonder that small business owners micromanage. Chances are, if you’ve found yourself hovering over your employees, there is—at least in your mind—reason enough for it. This might include:
- Fear of delegation. If you do it, you know that it’s done right—and if you leave it to someone else, they might not to do it the same way you would have.
- Concerns about output quality. Will your employees give the same attention to detail that you do, or will they turn out poor quality in order to rush through the process?
- Desire to maintain control. Your business is your baby. You started it from the ground up, and in the early stages in particular, you wore many hats to keep it moving smoothly. If you stop micromanaging, you’re letting go of control and turning it over to someone else—and that can be terrifying!
Sometimes, micromanaging is a natural extension of the early days of your business when you had to do a little bit of everything in order to keep your business running smoothly. In other cases, it’s the result of something that’s happened with your business; for example, an employee who wasn’t as trustworthy as you’d hoped or costly mistakes that could have damaged your business.
What Micromanaging is Doing to Your Business
If you’re guilty of micromanaging, no matter how justified that you feel you are, it’s important to take a step back and start to consider the problems that micromanaging can cause within your business.
When you choose to micromanage, you:
- Show a lack of confidence in your employees. Employees may believe that you don’t trust them or that you don’t believe in their capabilities. In turn, they may not be willing to give their best to the work day.
- Cause a drop in morale. Employees who are micromanaged may struggle to feel good about their work, including finding the confidence to offer suggestions, bring innovation to the table, or take initiative. Low morale can lead to substantial drops in performance and difficulty keeping employees.
- Take your attention off of other things. There are things that only you can do for your business, and you can’t do them if you’re micromanaging everyone else! Having the confidence that your employees can do the tasks asked of them will allow you the freedom to focus on the responsibilities on your plate, not the ones on theirs.
Alternatives to Micromanaging
It’s time to give up your micromanaging habit—and there are several steps you can take to ensure that you’ll feel confident in handing over those responsibilities to your employees. Try some of these strategies.
- Implement better onboarding and training processes. Make sure that employees have all the information they need to get the job done right—and then step back with the confidence that they know what they’re doing.
- Establish clear processes. Show employees how you want things done so that there will be no doubt about how they’re expected to complete important tasks. Create processes that help build your confidence, including regular check-ins so that you can observe the processes—but don’t check in so often that it interferes with your work or your employees’ work.
- Open the lines of communication. Create an open environment where you can discuss employee job performance: what they’re doing right, what they need to work on, and how they can better meet your expectations. You’ll discover that open communication can transform the way your employees complete many simple tasks.
- Hire managers. Managers can be more hands-on with all areas of employee interaction, making it easier for them to check in with employees throughout the day. They can also take a large percentage of the responsibility off of your shoulders.
Learning when to take a step back is important for your company. If you need more help protecting what’s important, contact us today to learn how we can take care of all of your small business advice and insurance needs.