Software projects can fail due to bad management. That fear can often drive managers to take too much control and start micromanaging people. The problem? This level of involvement can actually cause you to lose sight of what's important, and ultimately do more harm than good. So how do you know if you're micromanaging your software development project? Keep reading this post to find out.
What is micromanagement?
Micromanagement is a management style where managers closely supervise an employee. People who micromanage immerse themselves in the work of others. Micromanagers often avoid delegating responsibilities to employees so that the manager becomes the sole decision-maker.
Why do managers micromanage?
There are many different reasons why a manager may micromanage their people. Here’s a closer look at some of them.
- Loss of control over other projects
- Under-qualified employees on the team
- The belief that the work being done may make them look like an inadequate manager.
- Insecurities and poor self-image
- Inexperience in a management role
Whatever the reason, micromanaging is most often seen when there is a lack of respect and trust between the supervisor and the employees. It is rarely a productive use of time and energy.
How to identify your own micromanagement practices
Are you trying to identify if you’re a micromanager yourself? If several of these things apply to you, you may fall into the category of a micromanager.
1. You need to approve every task
Before any work is complete, you need to see it and provide your approval. Micromanagers often can’t stand the idea of letting their team have complete ownership and control the work they do.
2. Changing things takes up a lot of your time
Some micromanagers go a step beyond having to see everything that happens. They often find themselves making changes to work because it’s “not the way they would do it.” It’s hard for them to tell the difference between when change really needs to happen and when they’re simply taking too much control.
3. It’s required to include you in all communication
Conversations can’t happen without your knowledge, and you feel anxious at the thought of being left out of work emails. You feel the need to know what is happening all the time and believe that being privy to every conversation is the best way to accomplish that.
4. You’re hyper-aware of your employees’ locations
If you stress about where your employees are all the time or find yourself getting frustrated when they don’t immediately respond to your messages or emails, there’s a good chance you’re micromanaging them.
5. You dislike delegating tasks
If you hate delegating tasks and think that you’re the best person on your team to do the job then you may have micromanaging tendencies. The old saying is true, there are only so many hours in the day, but micromanagers take on too much work themselves.
6. You sweat the small stuff
Finally, micromanagers obsess and stress over the small stuff. A manager is meant to be a large decision-maker, team player, and general overseer of projects. They’re not meant to dissect every component of work.
What impact does micromanagement have on your team and in your project?
If you're in the habit of micromanaging, you may not understand the impact that it has on your organization. These are some of the reasons that this practice is bad for your people and bad for business.
Damaging employee morale and trust
Employees who have a micromanager often lose a sense of autonomy. This can result in a decrease in motivation. You want your employees to be at their best, so it's important not to take action that would damage that relationship.
Increasing employee turnover
People have more choices than ever when it comes to when they work, how they work, and how they work with. If you're creating a work environment they don't enjoy, you're likely to lose talent. In fact, close to 60% of employees who quit a job leave because of their managers.
When people are dealing with strict rules that micromanagers usually put in place, there’s not a lot of opportunity for innovation and creativity. If you are constantly correcting everything your employees do, you may stop them from doing anything original.
Controlling every small thing may be an attempt at achieving perfection, but in reality, it slows things down. You have to empower your team in the work that they do to keep the project moving, or you may risk missing deadlines.
How can you stop micromanaging?
Managing teams is no easy task, but if you struggle with micromanaging tendencies, here are a few things that you can do to limit or stop that behavior.
Make sure everyone knows what they should be doing (and when)
If everyone knows exactly what their role is and when to execute it, your software development project will go much more smoothly. Take time to do comprehensive planning before you or your team begin working
Don't try to "fix" everything yourself
If something is actually done wrong, you need to correct it, but don't operate in a silo. Bring members of your team in so they can understand your changes. This will help them understand their errors and avoid them in the future.
Keep an open mind
You may think that your way is the best way, but your team might have other ideas that work just as well. Keep open lines of communication and put in the time to understand what the people on your team are capable of. You may find that they'll surprise you.
If you are working with a software development team it's very likely that you are working in an Agile environment. You can apply some of these principles to your approach with the Agile Manifesto's and maybe start with "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools" as a guide.
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