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  • Writer's pictureTobias Coetzee

Micromanagement Trumps Trust Again?

If there is one thing that can hurt a team of developers… it is a manager who doesn’t trust them!

This usually means micromanagement trumps trust. Why hire highly competent and intelligent people to do a job you pay them a lot of money for and then, in the words of Sting “watch every move they make”?

Micromanage much?

I had to witness micromanagement at its worst, or should I say best, again the other day. A manager was hounding his team about a production fix and literally phoning them every 5 minutes, I could set my watch by it.

I’m sure most people have that one manager (and I truly hope you only have one) that micromanages every aspect of everything everyday. Constantly hovering and checking on you every 5 minutes, “Are you done yet?”, “When can I see it?”, “Did you think of that?”. That is a lot of “every”, and a lot of anything is bad. Ok, that is maybe a bit broad. Not everything is bad, but you catch my drift.

There is a time and a place

Like most things in life, especially coins, there are two sides to everything. Micromanagement does have a place in business, but it shouldn’t have a front row seat. So, when is it OK to micromanage?

When a new team member is starting out you definitely want to micromanage them, not in a negative way, just more hands on. You need to give them as much support as they need, i.e. not how much you have time for. Show them the ropes and make sure they are comfortable, understand what they need to do and how they need to go about doing it.

Experts (and I’m not saying I’m one) generally recommend 30 to 90 days of this hands on approach. If you still need to micromanage the new guy after 90 days then maybe they aren’t right for the job, or you are doing something wrong.

Trust more, grow more

When there is an important task, micromanagement shouldn’t rear its head. You should provide your team with the knowledge and confidence to get the job done without your excellent micromanagement skills.

If you fuss over everything and never let them make a decision you end up with a bunch of puppets who won’t think for themselves and will hate you for it. As Jiminy Cricket said, “You buttered your bread. Now sleep in it!”.

Showing trust in you team will give them confidence to grow and become better at what they do, this is what you want. In the end when you are a manager/leader it isn’t about how good you are at what you do, but how great your team is at what they do.

Can you relate to this? I definately do…. Share some of your horror stories or some of your thoughts on micromanagement.

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