The general attitude in the workforce has changed significantly over the last few years. The dynamic between employer and employee began drastically changing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the series of events that it caused. For starters, when the pandemic first began spreading, many businesses that relied on an in-person customer base had to close their doors for good. Meanwhile, many other organizations embraced the transition to remote operations and a work-from-home environment.
On top of all of this, the great resignation began. This was another movement that led to a mass workforce exodus. Specifically, an older generation of the workforce chose to leave their professional roles of their own accord in a pursuit of early retirement. This led to a huge disparity between job-availability and sky-high unemployment rates.
In the years following, and leading up to these last couple months of 2022, the pandemic has started to settle, and the work-from-home environment is cemented as a current standard that will likely last well into the future. However, this newly digital era is in jeopardy of hyper-micro-management which has been proven over and over again to be ineffective. Not only that, but micromanagement practices also reduce productivity and works to demoralize the staff, in turn creating a negative company culture and a bad employer-reputation.
In order to avoid these pitfalls and productivity killers, the following management practices will help you trust more and micro manage less. If you are looking for ways to protect your business and increase its continuity, you should learn about employee owned trust, read this page to know more.
“Micromanagement describes a management style where a manager is closely observing the actions of employees and subsequently enacting excessive control. Micromanagers may believe that their team can only succeed if they are controlling it all, down to each operation. Really though, when a manager becomes too involved with their employee’s performance, it can do more harm than good.”
– Sunny Betz, Staff Reporter, Built-In –
Using the Power of Autonomy
To rekindle nightmares of SAT prep, fire is to micromanagement as water is to autonomy. In other words, implementing an autonomous management style and culture is a good way to completely avoid tip-toeing over the line and crossing into micro managerial practices.
An autonomous management style is much more focused on developing employee ownership and cultivating employee engagement within the company. This is because offering employees autonomy in their role gives them more responsibility, and more decision-making power.
“When you’re a professional on a team, it doesn’t matter what industry, or what you’re doing, you don’t need to be treated like a kindergartner. That’s essentially what micro management is. A lot of redundancy ends up occurring in a micro management culture which means time is wasted and so is energy, so are resources, and so is money.”
– George Fraguio, Vice President of Bridge Lending, Vaster Capital –
By enabling employees to take more ownership over their everyday role, they will also naturally feel more engaged in what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis. Over time, this leads to a more engaged staff overall who report higher levels of job satisfaction and fulfillment in general.
This has actually been proven during the establishment of the work-from-home culture over the past couple of years as employees are more engaged, more productive, and happier overall working from home than they are in an office setting.
“When my commute was eliminated from my routine, I essentially got 20 hours back into my week. 2 hours in traffic to work every morning, and 2 hours back home every evening, five days a week – you do the math. It doesn’t make sense to go back. Not for me, and not for a lot of others.”
– Dr. Minhas, Founder and CEO, GerdLi –
Through a Healthy Company Culture
While establishing an autonomous managerial style is a good way to avoid micromanagement in general, it takes more than that to establish genuine trust. This is where developing a positive, healthy, and productive company culture can come into play. When employees feel free to share their ideas and are included in the general culture of the company, internal relationships more easily develop which leads to the foundation of trust between employees and managers both.
“The company culture is becoming a major focal point for many organizations as we enter this more digitally integrated era. Even though a lot of transactions and work is happening remotely, we’re still all human beings.”
– Miles Beckett, CEO and Co-Founder, Flossy –
Healthy company cultures are good at creating more than just trust between individuals. A strong company culture will also promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as fair and equal compensation, and comprehensive benefits.
When employees are subjected to a positive company culture, they respond in turn with higher levels of productivity, better problem solving, and higher levels of engagement as well.
“There is so much in an organization that culture impacts. It’s really an important thing to emphasize right now for organizations who are looking to attract and retain top-tier talent in their industry.”
– Matt Woods, Co-Founder and CEO, SOLD.com –
By Creating Trust-Earning Opportunities
Another great way for managers to start establishing more trust in their employees, especially new hires or new team members, is by offering them trust-earning opportunities. The exact type of opportunity might vary from organization to organization, but by allowing a new team member to take charge of a meeting, or a specific project, you can get a sense for their work-ethic, work-flow, and work quality. If they arise to the occasion, you know you can start to trust them with more and more responsibility.
“A great way to get a new team member engaged is through a project-assignment essentially right off the bat. This way they have a chance to show me what they’re bringing to the table, and I’ll get an idea of just how much I can start to trust them with in the beginning.”
– Justin Olson, Chief Marketing Officer, Fast Pace Health –
Giving team members trust earning opportunities is a good managerial practice to get into that should also help you hone your ability to manage with a hands-off approach. You’re going to want to make yourself available for questions, clarifications, and specific project help from time-to-time, but you need to be able to trust that your team members will come to you when they need that help; rather than watching over their shoulder and deciding when to intervene.
“Learning how to take a step back can often be difficult, especially for a new manager. However, it’s essential to being a good leader. You’ll be able to earn the respect of your team, through offering them your trust first.”
– Max Ade, CEO, Pickleheads –
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Many professional relationships last for years and years on end. This means that there’s no reason to sprint through relationship development. As a manager or leader, you likely aren’t going to trust your year-one employee with the same amount of responsibility as your year-ten employee.
It’s important to recognize how young a relationship is before claiming someone is untrustworthy. Afterall, people can make mistakes, learn, and grow. Giving employees time to mature and grow is the mark of an excellent leader.
“Nothing worthwhile in life happens overnight. Things take time. Trust, certainly, takes time. Give your employees time to earn that trust from you, and they will – especially if you give them the opportunity.”
– Lindsay Malu Kido, CEO, Empower Pleasure –
The longer your team members work with you, the more trust they’ll naturally earn from you and other organizational leadership as well. Hold onto these professionals, and give them the room they need to grow. Make sure you don’t end up squashing potential through micro management tendencies.
“I really don’t think anything kills morale in an organization more quickly than micro managers. They kind of clog up the entire workflow throughout the whole operation. It can become really detrimental really fast.”
– Dakota McDaniels, Chief Product Officer, Pluto –
Clear and Defined Expectations
Finally, the last tip to make this list on avoiding micromanagement and developing trust within employees is to set clear and well-defined expectations. Communication is one of the most important aspects in any professional setting, and is absolutely critical to the internal success of an organization.
“Defining the employee expectations clearly is totally on the manager, and is dependent on strong communication skills. If the manager can’t be trusted to deliver clear instructions and expectations, how can the employee be trusted to perform or execute?”
– Kyle Clements, CEO, Quipli –
Communication is a major part of establishing trust in general. As such, the better you are at communication, the more trust you’ll be able to develop with your team.
“Communication is just undeniably such an important part of success in today’s day and age. From Zoom calls to Slack messages, to emails and social media accounts, professionals have to know how to communicate across all these different channels.”
– Jesse DeBear, Fractional CMO, Renew Anchored Dentures –
A few Final Thoughts
There is little to no benefit ever seen from micro management. In fact, every study on managerial science for the last couple of decades indicates that a hands-off management style that offers employees autonomy and promotes engagement creates a much more productive culture in which employees take more accountability and feel more ownership in their roles.