123rf41325810 micromanage largeControlling behavior takes many forms but, in most cases it will be evidenced by bosses who:

  • Make pronouncements as to how employees complete tasks,
  • Constantly question employee judgment, and
  • Continually check in with staff members for status updates.

A 2014 survey conducted by Accountemps, a leading accounting staffing agency, revealed that 59 percent of employees had been micromanaged at one time or another. Of those employees, [quotesright]55 percent perceived micromanagement to be a significant barrier to productivity. [/quotesright]

If you're ready to overcome your own controlling behavior to help employees be more productive, here are four tips:

1. Focus on Building Trust

To build healthy relationships with staff members, meet with employees one-on-one and face-to-face. In the process, reassure each one that you're working to change your approach to him or her.

[quotes]It's doubtful employees will immediately believe you're sincere. [/quotes] But if you repeatedly demonstrate your intent, your staff will begin to trust you. Staff members will accept your sincerity more quickly if you acknowledge your prior approach to management had negative consequences.


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2. Request Employee Support

After you demonstrate your commitment to a change process, ask for staff members' help. You might ask employees to alert you if you return to old patterns of controlling behavior. If your staff complies with this request, you'll receive valuable feedback, which will improve the employee-manager relationship.

3. Assume the Role of Coach – Not That of a Controlling Boss

Once you acknowledge the need to increase trust and communication between yourself and your team members, you can start coaching employees, rather than controlling them. To begin, increase your expectations of staff members and [quotes]overtly encourage their efforts to be successful. [/quotes]

By setting high standards and increasingly demonstrating your belief that your employees can accomplish reasonable goals, it's likely staff performance will improve. At the same time, be positive and complimentary but truthful when speaking with employees. Equally important: Ask questions and be a good listener.

4. Empower Employees

By empowering staff members, you free your time to deal with management issues. While doing so may require a significant time commitment upfront, it saves you time in the long run.

For instance, it might take more time to train an employee to prepare a report than to create it yourself. But over time, training an employee frees your time by increasing the employee's skillset, improving his self-esteem, and his productivity.

When you control employee behavior, you tend to specify how a staff member must complete tasks, require frequent progress reports, or hover around the employee's desk to get visual assurance work is progressing per your requirements.

[quotes]Managers who recognize micromanagement for what it is – a significant barrier to employee productivity,[/quotes] – can overcome controlling behavior by following these four tips.