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Micro management leads to mismanagement, operating inefficiencies, and a serious loss of morale among the workforce, all harming the project in a big way. The ways to resolve such situations are by empowering the workforce, practicing delegation, prioritizing tasks to perform higher level activities first, and equipping the workers with resources and competencies rather than establishing a regimen of command and control.
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Micro managers take two good management attributes: attention to detail, and a hands-on approach, to the extreme. Such an approach is good in highly sensitive and risky projects where the process is as important as the results, or when the employee remains new or inexperienced to perform the tasks well, but bad in normal circumstances.
Empower the employees to undertake assigned tasks, rather than curtailing their freedom through tight controls or monitoring their work on real time basis. Employees are hired due to their competence in the first place, so allow them to realize their potential.
Allow subordinates to make relevant decisions, such as operating and floor-level decisions that have no strategic or policy implications. The micro manager reserving the right to make such decisions invariably leads to poor quality of decisions, inefficiency, and can be a waste of time as workers wait on such decisions.
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One sure way to stop micro project management is by delegation. Micro managers, either owing to their psychological disposition, or due to company culture or policy rarely delegate, preferring to do everything themselves, keeping a tight control over their subordinates activities.
When delegating, focus on the results rather than on the process. Track progress and advise course-correction, but not on a real time basis. Provide guidance and resources to aid the subordinate's performance rather than trying to direct performance by issuing commands. Allow the employee to complete the work without taking back the delegated work at the slightest mistake or deviance from the provided instructions.
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Managers can get out the habit of micro managing by prioritizing, or doing "first things first." The important thing is to prioritize correctly, based on the focus on the managerial activity. Focusing on successful completion of tasks invariably leads to stepping in, to “help” the employee. Rather focus on the bigger picture, or on "what needs doing" rather than "how to do things."
The correct focus and approach allow undertaking tasks with policy and strategic implications first, and concentrating energies on creating conditions to complete tasks better. This naturally leaves less time for micro management, and removes the obsession with subordinates activities.
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Equip the Subordinates
Incompetence of subordinates is one valid reason why managers involve too deeply in day to day activities. Provide such subordinates with adequate training to improve their competencies for the project, and make them understand the expectations of the clients or customers from the project. Serve as coach or facilitator to guide subordinates and provide them with the required resources. Involve the subordinate's actual work only to the level and extent actually required.
An end to micro management frees the project team from artificial controls and the bottleneck of routing everything through the manager, leading to a massive spurt in performance. The benefits that result from empowerment contribute to organizational growth and bottom line in a big way.
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The author has many years of experience in management.
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