Are you a micromanager?

Hey, team! Let’s get right to it this week.

Are you afraid that you’re becoming a micromanager? In our zeal to hit performance targets, we sometimes lose sight that leadership is also about developing others and empowering our teams to perform on their own. Read on for some practical advice.

This week we’re also diving into:

  • 5 employee experience trends shaping 2024. Are employees really okay with you monitoring their email and work messages? We’re a little skeptical of that, but read what this survey has to say.

  • Do you have a non-compete, or are you in the process of signing one with your employer? You’ll want to read this.

  • Science says this is the best method to beat procrastination. Test it out and see for yourself.

Let’s get into today’s question...

Dear CEO —

How do I know if I’m a micromanager?

I've tried to delegate duties to people on my team, but I’ve been frustrated by the results and ended up redoing the work anyway.

Recently a member of my team put together a 45-page Powerpoint that left me, well….


I ended up spending all night re-doing it.

How can I break this pattern?

I want to be a good boss who delegates and trusts my employees.

I just find it hard to let go, given how I can do the work faster and more accurately.

I don’t want to be “that” micromanaging manager.

Colby, Seattle, WA

How would you respond?

Scroll down to read the CEO’s answer and join the team’s conversation here.

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The Secret to Optimal Work Lies in a Juicy Red Garden Treat

 Try the Pomodoro Technique. This time management method breaks down complex tasks into 25-minute sprints. Yes, really.

Of course, you might get hungry working this way, because “pomodoro” is Italian for tomato. But I can vouch for this method and its usefulness for big tasks. Also, science says this is the best time optimization balance.

Improve one thing about your remote work setup. Many of us have something we keep meaning to do. Well, this is the week.

Maybe you need a better chair or a less distracting spot in your home. Maybe you need to set new ground rules with your family so you can concentrate. Whatever it is, do it.

 Give your top-performing team member a challenge. Discuss two or three important challenges, then let them choose one to tackle and how to approach it.

 Take a closer look at a low performer. Sometimes, you need to let a low performer go.

But here’s a way to take another shot at turning them around. Try these 4 Easy Tips to Handle Low Performers.


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Wait — What Did You Say?

💸 There’s a $1.4 Trillion Suck on Productivity That Has Nothing to Do With Remote Work — Distractions are everywhere. How about in your world?

💸 The 5 Employee Experience Trends Redefining Work in 2024 — Their thinking might surprise you.

💸 Non-Compete Agreements May Soon Be a Thing of The Past — Does your company have NCAs, and have you ever been under one? Their days may be numbered.


You Don’t Have to be a Micromanager

Dear Colby —

I truly appreciate your candidness, and I understand the complexities of leadership you're grappling with. Letting go and trusting your team, especially when you have a history of excelling in the tasks, can be hard. But remember, the mark of a great leader isn't just about personal capability; it's about fostering capabilities in others.

Here are strategies and insights to consider:

Reframe Your Definition of Success: As a leader, your success isn't measured by how quickly or efficiently you can complete tasks but by how well you can guide your team to achieve collective goals. Think of it this way: In my early days as a manager, I took pride in being a hands-on problem solver. But I soon realized the greater achievement was when I could mentor five team members to tackle similar challenges.

Set Clear Expectations and Provide Resources: Before assigning tasks, ensure you've outlined your expectations in detail. Use frameworks like SMART goals. But also ensure that your team has the resources and training they need. For instance, if you're handing over a project you've managed for years, consider holding a workshop to share your insights and best practices.

Implement a Gradual Letting-Go Process: Start by delegating smaller tasks and gradually move to more significant responsibilities as trust builds. For example, if you're hesitant about letting a team member lead a whole project, let them handle a particular section first.

Constructive Feedback Instead of Redoing: Instead of redoing tasks that don't meet your expectations, provide feedback. Pinpoint what was good and where they can improve. I recall a scenario where a team member's presentation lacked depth. Instead of redoing it, I sat with them and discussed the gaps, and together we enhanced it.

Encourage Autonomy and Ownership: Empower your team members by giving them ownership of their tasks. When they know they're responsible for the results, they're more likely to put in the extra effort. Remember, mistakes will happen, but they're also valuable learning opportunities.

Self-Reflection: At times, our reluctance to delegate stems from our insecurities or fears. Regularly ask yourself: Is my hesitation based on the team's ability or my own need for control? Recognizing and addressing your fears can be a game-changer.

Seek Feedback about Your Leadership Style: Engage in 360-degree feedback. Understanding how your team perceives your leadership can offer valuable insights. If there are areas where they feel micromanaged, they'll let you know, and you can work on them.

Celebrate Team Achievements: When your team does well, celebrate those moments. It not only boosts their confidence but also reinforces your trust in them.

Transitioning from an individual contributor to a leader who delegates and trusts is a journey. It requires patience, self-awareness, and a commitment to developing others. 

But I assure you, the rewards – a high-performing team, more time for strategic thinking, and personal growth – are well worth the effort.


Your Turn…

Do you disagree with the CEO’s advice?

See what the rest of the team says about the letter writer’s situation — and share your own thoughts.

Have a perplexing work or career question you’d like some advice on?

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