Here’s a quick micromanagement test. It’s easy; you don’t even have to study for it:

  1. How do you know if you've hired the wrong people? You need to micromanage their every move.
  2. How do you know if you're just a micromanager regardless of the people you manage? You micromanage every person, initiative, and task within your grasp regardless of competence – theirs or yours.

This might not come as a surprise, but no one likes to be micromanaged—especially people who like to think and do. Thinkers and doers are particularly offended by such scrutiny and limitations on their ability to do their jobs.

If, as the leader, you truly plan to manage every detail in the organization, then you need to hire "yes" people – you know, the ones who don't like to think. They just trade hours for a paycheck, can meet the minimum expectations of the job, and can tolerate being told what to do and how to do it.

If you don't want to deal with this level of detail, then it's best to hire independent thinkers – those who like to do the research for the best approach and then put those ideas into practice. Now, this one comes with a big warning: if you hire independent thinkers and enthusiastic doers and then prevent them from taking the initiative, you're going to lose them because they will leave. Quickly.

Don't try to be an expert at everything

You hire people to help you think and do, and you ought to hire competent people you can trust to do their jobs exceptionally well. They should bring expertise that is complementary to the company's existing skills and knowledge.

And you should look upon them with great enthusiasm for the fresh perspective they can bring to the organization and their willingness to jump in and do these new jobs with a fiery passion.

As a business owner, you have a lot to think about, and needing to be an expert in multiple disciplines depends on the size of your organization. If you are a one- or two-person company, you'd better do your homework and get up to speed quickly in some unfamiliar territory – for producer-owners, maybe it's adding marketing to your plate.

If you have a larger organization, you don't need to be an expert in all areas – that's what the team is for. When you hire someone to manage an area, you should be looking to them for advice. You've hired them as the content-area expert, and hopefully, they'll help you achieve company goals bigger, better, faster.

If you don’t receive expert–level advice and instead find yourself micromanaging your team and their activities, go back and do the micromanagement test we did at the beginning.

While it's always the leader's responsibility to set the vision and ensure the company stays on target, you need to let the team determine the best path for getting there. If you don't trust and rely on team members to help grow an awesome company that everyone is excited to work at, then it's time to do some personal evaluation and reflection.


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