How To Balance Overcommunication And Micromanagement

Communication is a hot topic right now. Everyone wants to communicate more effectively during this current pandemic, and the leading advice has been to overcommunicate. Our employees need leaders who will help them make the right decisions during this trying time. Unfortunately, we also know that overcommunication can quickly turn into micromanagement.

Today, we wanted to shed some light on the topic of overcommunication and micromanagement. We hope that these tips the balance between overcommunication and micromanagement help your organization.

Overcommunication vs. Micromanagement: What Is The Difference?

When it comes to overcommunication vs. micromanagement, your actions can blur easily. Especially during a pandemic like the one we are currently working in, it can be easy to overpower your employees with too much direction and checking-in. As an employer or leader, you have to be careful about your overcommunication tactics.

Overcommunication is the process of communicating more during a time of extensive change in your organization. Instead of your weekly all-hands meeting, you might check-in with your team more throughout the week to make sure that they have everything they need to work efficiently.

Micromanaging feels like you are taking over your employees and the responsibilities you give them. Instead of empowering your employees to do things on their own, you might insert yourself into tasks you’ve assigned out, or you might provide negative feedback to employees because tasks aren’t done like you’d do them.

Micromanagement stops your employees from stepping up, and it fills your schedule with an unnecessary amount of tasks every week. With so much happening, it can be easy to slip back into these micromanaging tendencies, even if you’ve gotten rid of them in the past.

7 Tips To Help You Strike The Balance Between Overcommunication And Micromanagement

If you’re struggling right now, let’s talk about some strategies that will help you balance overcommunication and micromanagement.

Offer More General Communication

First and foremost, you want to offer more general communication. There’s a big difference between asking how your employees are dealing with COVID-19 and asking them about a specific assignment you gave them.

Instead of asking about a specific assignment, keep your check-ins general, and let your employees ask for help if they need it. Let them know that your door is always open if they want to chat. Lastly, you want to trust that your employees will come to you if they need additional guidance.

Use Technology To Understand Who Needs More Help

Technology can be a handy tool for keeping up with your employees. Use a green light/red light system to check-in with your employees.

A green light/red light system allows you to check-in with the employees who need your help most. Employees who are moving along well with a project will highlight their tasks green in your project management system. If they hit a roadblock and need your help, they can mark the tasks red because the project requires assistance.

This system will stop you from checking in with every single employee, which saves you time and energy.

There is a catch, though, because sometimes all projects will be running smoothly. Don’t take this as an opportunity to check-in anyway. Again, you have to have faith that your employees will come to you if they need help with anything.

Communicate With Your Employees About How Much Communication They Need

I know this seems like a weird thing to talk with your employees about, but they will appreciate you asking them about the level of communication they need right now. Some employees work well when they can be left alone, while other employees want more interaction with you. Setting those expectations with each employee will help you know how you can best support your team. After you gather this information, write it down, and follow it as you are sitting down to check-in with employees each day.

Every employee has a different definition of what makes someone a micromanager. If you can tap into your employees and their feelings on the issue, you’ll be able to connect to your employees better.

Get Used To Outsourcing More Tasks

The next time you get a batch of tasks to complete, outsource effectively. Start small with the tasks you outsource to your employees.

Create simple tasks with frequent checkpoints. For example, if you have five articles that need to be written, outsource the articles with check-ins after each one is complete.

Outsource tasks outside of work, too. For example, you can outsource mowing the lawn, getting your groceries, or building a shelf. These small, inconsequential tasks will help you prepare to outsource bigger responsibilities to your team. You might learn that outsourcing and delegating isn’t so bad after all.

Set Deadlines Before You Need Them

Another way to strike the delicate balance between overcommunication and micromanagement is by asking for things before you need them. If you have a presentation due on Friday, you can ask your team to get done with the presentation assets by Wednesday. These extra two days allow you to prepare for the worst, without bringing your team down or making them feel the weight of your micromanagement.

When you ask for things ahead of time, you have time to look over things, make changes, and submit them in an orderly way. Instead of getting frustrated or becoming overbearing, you can ask for the changes without rushing your employees or feeling the need to jump in and save the day. Setting deadlines even just a few days before a task is due allows everyone to be well-prepared and less frazzled.

Understand The Value Of Letting Go

Think about what happens when you micromanage tasks. How many more hours do you work when you have to consistently check-in with your team to make sure that they are meeting deadlines and working effectively? Chances are you add hours to your week, or you get a lot less of your actual tasks done when you micromanage.

Instead of micromanaging, imagine a world where you can assign tasks and then work on your tasks for the week. How much more productive would you be if you had to check-in less during the week? Chances are you would get back dozens of hours, and you could move your team forward, thanks to the time you have to work on high-level tasks.

Understanding the importance and value of letting go will help you let go of tasks more consistently, which will make everyone happier.

Build Your Team Based On Trust

When you build a fantastic team based on trust, you feel more confident letting your team do what they do best–without micromanagement. Trust is foundational to creating a team that you don’t have to micromanage. If you can’t trust your team to work remotely, you should rethink the people you are hiring.

The great thing about trust is that it can be built. With the right team-building exercises and time, you can learn to trust any team. Build trust with your team so that you can ease up on your micromanaging habits and communicate with your team effectively.

Conclusion: Balance Overcommunication And Micromanagement

There’s nothing wrong with overcommunication during a time of crisis. Your employees want to hear from you, but there comes a time when you might be turning into a micromanager, taking over tasks, and becoming a nuisance for your employees. Set expectations for the level of communication that is expected from you during this pandemic. Don’t be afraid to disconnect and let your employees tackle the tasks you know they are capable of.