Managers, listen up: micromanagement kills your team's efficiency and will slowly drive you insane. I've prepared a simple four-step plan to help you stop micromanaging and thereby preserve your employees' productivity.

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  1. Reset expectations. Many managers micromanage because they don't trust their employees to do the job right. What training would you have to provide to ensure your employees have the skills to perform tasks appropriately? What checks and balances would you need to have in place to feel comfortable about letting go? Once you think about the answers to these questions, sit down with your employees and discuss your expectations of how you'll work together from here on out.
  2. Stick to the plan. If you decided on a daily check-in or weekly dashboard, let go and allow your employees to rise to the occasion. Resist the temptation to jump in as you might have in the past. If your team falters, counsel them accordingly; after all, they must hold up their end of the bargain to help you adjust to the new work paradigm.
  3. Catch your team doing something right. Too often, those who micromanage only catch their employees doing something wrong, crushing morale and overall engagement. Instead, look for opportunities to praise your team when they've earned it.
  4. Schedule regular check-ins. Those who are trying to stop micromanaging may veer off too far to the other side of the spectrum and pull away from teammates entirely. This isn't the solution. You should still manage proactively: the difference is that instead of checking in on your employees' work tasks, you'll be checking on their engagement. How fulfilled, appreciated and motivated do your employees feel? Do they feel they have the support they need to do their best work?

It's amazing how often I see these four points ignored in management, both in traditional office settings and in the virtual/telecommuting sphere. What tips would you add to help managers stop micromanaging?

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