Letting Go by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

One of the most undesirable traits in a manager is micromanaging. Unfortunately, many managers who are guilty of micromanaging are very good at justifying and rationalizing why they need to be in constant control and with their finger on the pulse of all aspects of their team, department, or project.

Often, micromanaging or needing to oversee everything and personally control the team comes out of a lack of trust in others. Many managers have experienced minor or major disasters that occurred when trust in others was misplaced. Letting go of the issues of the past and acknowledging that others have the skills and capabilities to effectively manage their day-to-day tasks is essential to delegate, have trust and confidence, and reduce your stress and workload.

The Good Manager – Bad Manager Exercise

One of the most effective exercises is to take a minute and think back on a top employer, manager, leader, or supervisor that you have worked for in the past. Write down the characteristics that made them an exceptional manager in a column on the left half of a piece of paper.

Now, do the opposite exercise. Think of a bad manager you worked for and write down all of the characteristics or habits that made them difficult. Do this on the right side of the paper.

Take a close look and reflect on your current practice. Put a check beside the positive traits on the left column that you think your employees would say about you. Put an X beside the traits in the right column you see in your own management style.

Commit to eliminating those behaviors by focusing on how they negatively impacted your personal and professional life. Coaching is an exceptional tool for setting goals and make these positive choices.

Simple Tips for Letting Go

To get started on letting go and building trust in your team, here are a few simple yet highly effective strategies and techniques:

  • Make a list – make a list of all the things you do and choose those that are not mission-critical as a starting point. Choose a team member to delegate one or more tasks to from this list. Set up a meeting and discuss expectations and provide clear guidelines or objectives as well as details for the task. Set a follow-up date to meet with the team member as a check-in.
  • Ask for ideas – micromanaging stifles creativity and problem-solving for the team. Open up meetings or conversations to ask for ideas or posing problems to the team and then step back to allow input and new perspectives.
  • Back away – show your team you trust them by letting them do their jobs. Step back from hoovering or checking in as frequently. This allows you to change the habit of micromanaging while still being actively involved at a healthy level.
  • Get to know your team members – micromanaging often comes from not knowing the strengths and talents of individuals. Take the time to get to know your team to choose the best team members to take on various tasks.

Building trust in your team means letting go of the micromanaging habit. Working with a coach can be instrumental in making these changes in your professional life.