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Learn to Control the process, not the People


Learn to Control the process, not the People

As a manager, you must remain involved in your employees’ activities. But where does involvement stop and micromanaging begin? Sticking your nose too deeply into an employee’s work process can be counterproductive and waste time. Learn to control the process, not the people.
Let’s say you overheard an employee refer to you as a micromanager. To find out if it’s true, answer the following questions using this scale:

4 = Very often 3 = Often 2 = Sometimes 1 = Seldom 0 = Never


  1. Give specific directions about how you want a task completed?
  2. Wonder what employees are doing and whether their time could be spent better?
  3. Reject an employee’s suggestion because it isn’t how you would perform the task?
  4. Get annoyed when a normally capable employee makes a simple error?
  5. Worry about whether a key task will be done right or on time?
  6. Sneak a peek when your employee isn’t around to check a project’s progress?
  7. Delegate work in increments rather than explain the entire project at once?
  8. Resent or refuse to answer questions about “why” a task needs to be done?
  9. Find employees coming to you with questions they should know the answers to?
  10. Talk most of the time during strategy meetings or brainstorming sessions?



30 to 40
Your employee is right: You’re a micromanager.
You may be focusing too much on how employees perform the work, not the outcome. Instead of always explaining how something should be done, explain what you’re trying to achieve. After all, your employee may know a faster, better way


20 to 29
Shift your focus to results.
You’re not a “dyed-in-the-wool” micromanager, but you need to loosen the reins a bit. Give employees more space to make decisions


10 to 19
It’s not your fault
If you’ve answered the questions honestly, you’re not micromanaging your employees, but you still have a problem. They view your critiques negatively, so you need to work on communicating your expectations and feedback more effectively.


0 to 9
He must have been talking about someone else
The complaint is probably an isolated remark.
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