Good-bye Micromanager, Hello Empowered Employee By: Deidre Forster
Empowering employees is not just a snazzy phrase, new buzzword, or today’s newest trend; it can be a sound business practice that frees up management’s time to focus on the myriad business minutia that needs focus. It’s time to say good-bye to being a micromanager and hello to an empowered employee.
For the purposes of this blog, some definitions: micromanager- n., referring to a manager who wants regular, in most cases, daily oversight of every step of every project an employee has been given to do. They critique everything from specific words used in a report to the width of its margins. They smother. They hover. In many cases, by the time the project is finalized the imprint of the employee who was “in charge” of it, really isn’t visible. empowered- adj., describes an employee who is given a task and trusted by a manager to “run with it” to the end. An empowered employee regularly updates his or her manager on progress, but their manager gave them clear guidelines and the final product is more a reflection of the employee. So, really an empowered employee is one who a manager trusts to accomplish tasks in an appropriate and timely manner without much oversight/micromanagement. There is a key word in the above sentence that managers should abide by to create a culture ofempowerment in the workplace: Trust. Trust is the backbone of empowering employees and it comes on a variety of levels. Managers must trust they hired the correct people. Employees must trust their managers will provide clear direction, parameters and timelines. The key is to remember your employee needs clear direction on your vision BEFORE tackling the project. That clarity coupled with their ingenuity, work ethic and skills is what will make for a successful project. Coach your employee but don’t play the game for them. Pairing up a project to the most appropriate person is a knack made easier by knowing your employees. Managers who engage with their workforce know their workforce. They know who will do the best job compiling a report filled with detailed data, and who would be the best person to tackle planning for the annual company picnic. Micromanagers tend to be a tad insecure. Admit it. I am a recovering micromanager and I know it’s hard to let go and empower, but I also can admit that letting go is the best thing I could have done. I trust in myself and trust that my team knows their stuff. I also trust my sense of who each of them are as people and employees. I give them projects that will be successfully completed because of their unique strengths. I trust. And it’s hard. But man oh man, does it work! I have given up my quest for my version of perfection and have decided successful, good, solid work, doesn’t have to match the picture in my head. Perfection can take many forms – and all of those forms begin with trust and end with empowerment. By Deidre Forster, Xcel IQ