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How to Monitor Progress and Not Micro Manage: Communication for Leadership Success

Updated: Feb 5

Micromanagement can be detrimental to employee morale, creativity, and productivity, as it undermines trust, stifles innovation, and hampers individual growth and development. If you are the manager, ask yourself why you are doing this? Is the direct report underperforming or is the project at risk? Explain why you are supervising more than normal. Keep in mind the following best practices:

  • Check-ins are cool, stalking is not: Schedule regular updates to stay in the loop, but give them space to work their magic. Nobody wants a micromanaging detective.

  • Results matter, not your control freak tendencies: Focus on the outcome, not on dictating every move. Trust them to find their own groove, unless you're auditioning for the role of Director of Everything.

  • Support like a boss, not a helicopter parent: Provide resources and assistance, but don't hover over their shoulder like a helicopter parent on a sugar rush. They've got this.

  • Talk openly, but avoid becoming a 24/7 hotline: Encourage communication, but remember they don't need a hotline to your office. They're not in a reality TV show, and you're not their personal confessional booth.

  • Delegate authority, it's not a dictatorship: Trust their decision-making skills and empower them to take charge. You're delegating, not setting up a miniature dictatorship. Let them spread their wings and soar.

  • Celebrate victories, don't be a grinch: Recognize their achievements and give credit where it's due. No need to be the Grinch who stole the joy out of their success. Let the confetti fly!

If you are the direct report, heighten your self-awareness. Maybe you have some areas of opportunity. The manager may see signs that you are falling behind in quality or timeliness.

If you are 100% certain that you are not underperforming, ask your manager directly what would help them trust the process more? It is usually as simple as proactively updating the manager and escalating issues faster rather than sitting on them.

communication for leadership success

Here is a good manager checklist. Review this list to see where you can improve the relationship and improve overall management of this direct report.

1. Set clear expectations: Clearly communicate your expectations regarding the timeline, deliverables, and quality standards. Ensure that everyone understands the desired outcomes and what success looks like. This provides a framework for monitoring progress without the need for constant intervention.

2. Establish check-in points: Schedule regular check-in meetings or milestones to assess progress. These meetings can be used to provide feedback, address any concerns, and ensure that the project is on track. However, avoid excessive meetings that can be perceived as micromanagement. Use these check-ins as opportunities to offer guidance, answer questions, and provide necessary resources.

3. Focus on results, not methods: Instead of dictating how individuals should complete their tasks, focus on the desired results. Trust their expertise and judgment in finding the most effective and efficient ways to achieve those results. Give individuals the freedom to use their own problem-solving skills and creativity, as long as they stay within the defined boundaries.

4. Provide necessary resources and support: Ensure that individuals have the necessary resources, tools, and support to complete their tasks. Address any obstacles or challenges they encounter promptly and offer assistance as needed. By providing the right resources and support, you empower individuals to take ownership of their work and reduce the need for micromanagement.

5. Encourage open communication: Foster an environment where individuals feel comfortable sharing their progress, concerns, and ideas. Encourage them to proactively communicate any roadblocks or deviations from the original plan. This enables you to stay informed about progress without having to constantly check in.

6. Delegate authority and decision-making: Delegate appropriate levels of authority and decision-making power to individuals. This allows them to make necessary decisions and take actions independently, reducing the need for constant supervision. Clearly communicate the boundaries within which they can exercise their authority, so they feel empowered but also understand the limits.

7. Recognize and appreciate achievements: Acknowledge and appreciate the accomplishments of individuals as they make progress towards their goals. Positive reinforcement and recognition motivate individuals and build trust, which in turn reduces the need for micromanagement.

Remember, the goal is to create an environment of trust, autonomy, and open communication while still ensuring progress is monitored effectively. By following these strategies, you can strike the right balance and avoid micromanagement while keeping track of project progress.

by: Stephanie Bickel


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