Running a business can be really challenging, and managing a team of employees is perhaps one of the more difficult aspects of the job. Not only do you have your team with widely different personalities, learning styles and strengths and weaknesses to contend with but you have your own management style and tendencies that can often complicate things even further. I have seen many well-meaning business owners lose years of growth and scaling due to their own bad habits, which is why it’s important to understand where you fall on the management spectrum. Once you have a good idea of where you fall, you can make the necessary changes to do better if necessary.
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The dreaded micromanager.
I have lost count of how many times I have asked a business owner what kind of manager they are and they replied with: “oh, well I am not a micromanager….I know that!” Being a micromanager gets a bad rap, but it is well known for a reason. A lot of business owners out there have trouble letting go. They think that they are the only one that knows the ins and outs of their business and struggle to let go and delegate things to their team. And when they do, they feel the overwhelming urge to oversee every single detail to make sure that it is done correctly.
Not only does this drive your employees to seek employment elsewhere, but it stifles the creativity of those that do stick around. Your employees may have skills or experiences that could help grow your business even faster, but you are silencing them by micromanaging their every move.
The laid back abdicator.
On the other end of the spectrum is the laid back abdicator. Now this type of manager on the surface seems like a better alternative. Employees are free to use their creativity and come up with solutions to problems as they arise. But what often happens is that this type of management style ends up leaving the employees in the dark without key details about projects and higher level objectives. They may miss deadlines, and managers in this realm often miss key reporting details leaving their team in the dark. Which over time could lead to the same problems as micromanaging, losing key team members and slowing down growth.
Somewhere in the middle.
For the majority of you, you likely fall somewhere in between the two extremes. For some projects or employees, you tend to hover and micromanage. Maybe you feel like they lack the skills necessary to complete the task correctly or have been burned in the past with other employees. Others on your team may hear from you very infrequently and wonder if you have any idea what they are working on at all.
If you want to improve your management skills, the key is two fold. First, get to know your employees and find out how they like to be managed. Some employees like to check in often and get very detailed instructions for tasks and projects. Others like the challenge of having a broad overview, and then having the freedom to fill in the details as they go. Make notes of each team member, and how they prefer to receive their project handoffs. Second, get used to delegation. Practice handing off projects in the preferred method and take notes of what worked and what didn’t and adjust as needed. Over time you will become a better manager and leader for your team. Good luck!