How NOT to Micromanage Your Small Business

by Lynnea Bylund on October 17, 2012

Do not micromanage your business - how not toAt the start of a new business the entrepreneur often handles everything—directly and optimally. Then it begins: the company grows beyond what you can handle by yourself and you start hiring staff to fill the positions in your growing business. What you obtain is the freedom to further grow your company. What you lose is the luxury to control exactly how things will be accomplished.

Then the micro-managing starts. The reluctant business owner is forced to delegate responsibilities, but instead of handing-off and shifting from the business owner as the main doer to the entrepreneur as leader, you attempt to continue that personal direct control. This leaves you trying to accomplish all of the big picture items in your role as entrepreneur-as-leader, as well as the small picture details that went with your previous role as entrepreneur-as-doer. Eventually you become exhausted and overwhelmed, and your people become frustrated and wind up on the verge of quitting.

The solution, says business consultant Carla Young is to learn how to coordinate activities without micromanaging. These tips from Carla appeared on the Bank of Montreal’s Smart business Steps blog – 

Hire Solvers, Not Doers

Start by hiring capable people who can come up with creative solutions to situations as they arise, without your input—which is the key difference between solvers and doers. Without your constant input, doers will stop doing and wait for you to outline the next step. Solvers will see the big picture, understand it, and know how move forward.

Communicate the End Goal

Instead of assigning tasks, share the end result you hope to accomplish as a result of doing the task. That way you enlist your staff’s problem-solving skills, by allowing them to develop different ways of approaching the situation.

Train on the Methodology

Support your team by training them on your overall methodology rather than focusing on a step-by-step process. It’s likely that you will need to share step-by-step procedures as part of this training, but keep attention on outcomes and goals as you go, leaving your staff room to find their own creative solutions along the way.

Manage the Outcome

Focus on measuring and managing the results, not the process. Think of your role as supporting your team in their efforts instead of directing them on a day-to-day basis. It’s important to clearly define what metrics you will be using to measure their results.

Be Open to New Ideas

In fact, don’t just be open to new ideas—actively encourage them! The challenge for many entrepreneurs when they move from the role of entrepreneur-as-doer to entrepreneur-as-leader is making room for new voices and new approaches. Task your team with searching for opportunities to innovate.

Leverage Technology

Tap into the power of technology to stay on top of team tasks without being on top of your team. There are dozens of task management tools out there that offer everything from project planning to task assignment and monitoring.


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