Eliminate Micromanaging

Perhaps you have said the following to yourself or others, “I am totally swamped with work,” “I could use some help” or one of my all time favorites, “If I could only clone myself, life would be great.”

Think about it for a moment. If you could clone yourself, the day-to-day problems would probably double, the workload would quadruple, and you would explode by the end of the month.

As business owners, we often are guilty of micromanaging our employees because we believe if you want something done right the first time you have to do it yourself. You think, “I am paying these people good money to do their jobs and I end up doing it myself!” There is not enough paper in this magazine to list the endless examples of frustration that we experience on a day-to-day basis.

Believe it or not, we as owners are part of the problem. But relax; it’s not as bad as you think. In fact the solution to the problem is simple, painless and requires only a pen, paper and Scotch tape.

A real story. A business owner starts his day as usual. He gets up early in the morning, grabs his business cell phone, personal cell phone and pager. On his way to the office he gets inundated with phone calls from the field and office. By the time he reaches the office, he has put out seven fires and calmed down his lead carpenter because he has a personality conflict with someone on the job. And it’s not even 7:45 a.m. The business owner walks into the office only to find eight pink message slips on his desk and his voicemail light flashing. He gets through the messages but is alarmed to see that it is already 12:45 p.m. On top of that he knows the crew is coming to the office at the end of the day with their inquiries, complaints and demands.

The business owner grabs a piece of paper and writes a simple message. He grabs the Scotch tape and carefully sticks his message to the door. He is very nervous about this idea, but he cannot take another minute of his crew asking him what to do, how to do it or when to do it.

The crew comes into the office and immediately notices the message on the office door, “What would you do if I wasn’t here?” Normally two seconds after entering the office, the crew would knock on his door and the office would buzz with questions. To his surprise the crew did not knock on his door. He sat quietly, waiting, but there was silence. Did the crew quit? Did they leave the office? What happened? He peered into the meeting room and to his amazement saw the crew talking out the issues among themselves!

Generally speaking, your crew knows what to do on the job. What they are looking for is confirmation from their leader. Help them to commit to your company by letting them take on personal responsibility for their actions.