25 August 2022 |

How to avoid the Micromanager Trap


It is challenging for high-achieving founders to avoid becoming micromanagers.

Let’s look at the road map,

You start a business from nothing. 

You sacrifice your time.

You invest all of your money and energy to grow your business to the point where you need to hire help. 

Along the way, you find processes that work great..for you.

It’s not uncommon for founders to hire employees with the expectation that they will be ready and willing to follow orders. 

The truth: Nobody is inspired by taking orders.

This approach leads to:

  • People hiding mistakes
  • Time wasted on fire drills
  • Wasted time fixing things that aren’t broken
  • Once motivated, employees becoming disengaged

An unmotivated workforce is expensive. 

You get significantly less ROI from your workforce, sick time skyrockets, and eventually, people leave for other opportunities.

But still, this is a common mistake even the most experienced founders make.

Great employees want to problem solve and create. Your team will be invested in your company’s success if you give them the freedom to help you build it.

After you learn to inspire and instill purpose, you’ll have a team who leaves each day feeling like they are making progress and having an impact. They will crush every goal you put in front of them and brag to their friends about how amazing it is to work for you.

You’ll only get to this place after understanding how to avoid Micromanager Tendencies. 

Here is how micromanagers handle situations:

When an employee runs into a problem: A micromanager takes ownership of the problem instead of supporting the employee.

When a project is finished: A micromanager focuses on everything they would have done differently instead of the value of the work done.

When giving feedback: A micromanager lacks emotional intelligence and provides feedback while they are frustrated, ignoring strengths and focusing on everything going wrong.

When assigning projects: Micromanagers are vague with expectations and deadlines–but get frustrated when uncommunicated expectations are not met.  

You’ve probably seen these scenarios come to life at some point in your career. You might even be struggling through it right now.

It is exhausting!

Luckily, there are a few mindset shifts you can make that will lead to a change in how you lead your team.

You will have more free time, fewer fire drills, better products for your customers, and a more engaged workforce. 

Mindset Shift #1: Your way isn’t the only way to do things

People are invested in the things they help create. Encourage your team to innovate by investing in THEIR ideas–even when you don’t fully understand their vision immediately.

Giving them space to explore things they are passionate about will provide them with confidence that will allow them to be an overall better teammate. 

Mindset Shift #2: Build on strengths

Remember that just because you would have done something differently doesn’t mean the way it was done is wrong. People take pride in their work. Stepping into completely redoing something will create disengagement. 

Instead, focus on what was done well and offer small pieces of feedback for future projects. The goal is not to make someone 100% better overnight. The goal is to help people get 1-2% better consistently. 

Focusing on what is going well is the quickest way to build momentum and create a culture where people are inspired to be at work every day. 

Mindset Shift #3: Clarity is speed

Be ruthless about ensuring all levels of your organization understand their priorities and Why their work matters. 

Great leaders keep the vision visible.

Talk about it in team meetings, 1:1s, emails, and social media.

Your team should expect you to talk about the mission and vision of your organization.

Mindset Shift #4: Start with the end in mind

When your team understands WHY a task or deadline is essential, they can problem-solve when obstacles arise.

You want your team to be empowered to make quick decisions and be able to articulate how their decisions ensured the project still met its targets.

Acknowledge, coach, provide feedback, and move forward when mistakes happen.