How to Manage Without Micromanaging

by Jarie Bolander on May 3, 2010

A guest post by Melissa Tamura

Effective managers not only build teams and lead them to success; they are effective business coaches as well. Their role has evolved from simply driving the workforce to meet quotas into an approach that brings people together in an atmosphere that encourages creativity and solidarity. Talented managers know how to build a team that will work together to achieve a common goal.

Every player has a specific function-a specialty-that makes them an integral part of the process. That specialty is what makes them valuable. If everyone on the field played first base there wouldnĂ­t be much of a baseball game. Ball players have honed their skills just as professionals in the business world have learned their craft. Each of them brings their own set of knowledge, talents and skills to the table. A good manager knows how to put the skills of the individual, as well as the team as a whole, to work to accomplish a task.

Micromanaging is perhaps the fastest way to stifle creativity, destroy team morale and slow down productivity. Directing project activities down to the minutest detail is the mark of a micromanager. What that amounts to is distrust on the manager’s part. It has devastating effects. Members of the team will lose interest in a project. Collaboration may become non-existent. Rather than a team effort, the result is a group of individuals working on their own with no motivation or incentive to work together. Dissension in the ranks may result, but most often what happens is employees will begin to resent their leader.

Talented leaders expect each member to make contributions to the team effort. The micromanager will know every detail of every project in his department, make all the decisions and discourage collaboration. His more effective and successful counterpart encourages collaboration, expects creative solutions and ideas, team decision making and relies on the competence of his team to keep him up to date and on schedule with status and progress reports.

The business meeting is often where it all gels, and where the effectiveness of the team and the manager becomes apparent. Every meeting should be productive, with input from all players. Effective management allows every opinion and suggestion to be heard, and expects the team to come to a consensus on decisions.

Building a successful team requires management strategies that encourage individual employees to become confident problem solvers, and to find answers on their own. Even though their solutions may not always be the most successful or effective, the process builds confidence and a willingness to explore resolutions on their own in the future. The leader who allows independent thinking, rather than solving all of their challenges for them is building a sense of autonomy in his team members that can be extremely beneficial to the company.

This strategy is dependent upon trust. If a staff trusts its manager, they will be more willing to approach challenges with their own ideas. If that is something new for a staff, it may take some time to build that trust. There may be some reluctance at first, but if the manager withholds his own opinion and waits for ideas from his team, the level of trust will increase.

Talented managers are effective communicators who have learned that success lies in the talents and cohesion of the team. Encouraging independent thinking, problem solving and team collaboration are strategies used by the very best managers to build and maintain highly productive teams that consistently exceed expectations.

Melissa Tamura manages the Zen College Life directory of online degrees. She most recently wrote on the subject of online schools.

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