How to Avoid Micromanaging Remote Teams
The biggest mistake a manager of a remote team can make is to micromanage. Read this article to know how to avoid making this mistake & manage remote team effectively.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sent governments scrambling to contain the number of cases in their countries from growing exponentially.
Many of them have implemented proven measures such as social distancing and even citywide lockdowns.
While these drastic interventions are necessary, they have dire consequences in the corporate sphere.
Currently, many companies are facing enormous operational challenges, trying to stay “business as usual” in this unusual time.
To continue meeting service level agreements with clients and generate revenue, companies have implemented work-from-home (WFH) policies.
In a Gartner online poll conducted earlier this month, 88% of the 805 organisations surveyed indicated that they have required employees to work from home, whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not.
As many experts say, remote work will become the new normal for a lot of organisations for weeks or even months.
Yet, many businesses are unprepared for this arrangement.
In fact, for a handful of employees, shifting to the ‘home office’ is something that they are doing for the first time!
Admittedly, adjusting to this setup is not easy.
Managers who are new to the whole working from home arrangement may end up micromanaging their teams, believing it is the only way to ensure productivity.
However, this is not a good practice at all!
For one, employees do not want to be micromanaged. Furthermore, in the long run, dictating and monitoring their every move can become counterproductive.
So, you should steer clear of this management style or you’ll end up with disgruntled employees and hamper the growth of your team.
Below, we list down some strategies you can employ to cease doing this bad habit as you work from home and manage your remote teams.
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1Set the expectations at the onset
You and your teams need to be on the same page. For everyone to work in unison, rules and deliverables should be relayed to them early on.
Failure to communicate these things can result in miscommunication and even hinder the teams from achieving their targets.
So, see to it that you inform them about individual and group goals as well as project timelines.
They should also be made aware of how and when they are going to be evaluated.
Even their working hours and check-in schedules should be clear at the onset.
2Trust your team
You need to trust your remote teams if you want them to thrive and succeed.
Understandably, this can be difficult to do when you aren’t able to actually see them working.
Always remember that you hired these people because they are capable of doing the job.
All you need to do is to trust that they can work autonomously and productively.
Plus, various remote work tools now exist which can help you monitor their workflows and project progress.
But what should you do if someone is not performing well?
You can increase supervision on a team member who’s not meeting expectations.
For example, instead of submitting weekly updates, you can require him to send end of day reports.
Communication is essential in remote work. It is one of the things that brings virtual teams together and keeps them strong.
To ensure proper and effective communication, have ground rules in place.
Set a communication timeframe for responses, i.e., 24-hour window to answer emails.
At the same time, have a definite schedule for updates and check-ins.
Calling your employees at random times can disrupt their workflow. It also sends the message that you do not trust them.
Most importantly, let them know that your line is always open for them should they have questions or require help.
Just see to it though that you inform them about your schedule and the best way to reach you.
4 Provide Feedback
Giving employees feedback on their performance is necessary for their improvement. It enables them to learn from their mistakes and become better at their jobs.
One of the best times to relay performance-related information is during a one on one meeting. Yes, you still need to do one on ones even if you have remote teams.
In fact, remote one on one meetings are even more important in this type of work setup as it serves as an opportunity for you to get to know your direct reports and build stronger bonds with them.
Ideally, you should schedule one on ones once a week until your teams are able to adjust to the current setup.
In addition, always make sure you come in prepared with a clear agenda on-hand.
Use a one on one meeting software to ensure that you achieve your desired results.
5 Allow them to learn through failure
Many managers micromanage because they want things to be perfect. This mindset can negatively impact the productivity and morale of your teams.
Endless revisions can prevent your direct reports from meeting deadlines and completing tasks.
Moreover, your desire for things to be perfect can stifle innovation and promote fear of committing mistakes.
Allowing them to fail and have a certain amount of autonomy are essential for your teams to succeed much faster.
To overcome this productivity-crippling mindset, set realistic goals and always keep them in mind. Furthermore, stick to the criteria you agreed on.
Remind yourself that the work doesn’t need to be perfect. For as long as it meets the criteria, then the project should be accepted and marked as done already.
In summary, learning how to effectively manage your remote teams without micromanaging is a process.
You are not going to be excellent at it overnight.
But knowing how to avoid being a micromanager is already a step in the right direction, one that’s going to help you successfully lead your teams in this time of crisis.
PS: Are you looking for tools to help you effectively manage your remote teams? Use a one on one meeting software – that allows to make one on one meetings impactful and productive.
Effective One on One Meetings
We built a software that automatically schedules, lets you set agenda, take notes, exchange feedback and track actions – all in one place.
PS: Read the ‘Remote Manager’s Guide to Productive & Motivated Teams’ HERE.
Want to become a better manager?
Start with great 1-on-1s to build high performing teams.