Mentor, Don’t Micromanage

by Jul 2, 2018

If you know children, you know how important it is to let them make mistakes. How will they ever grow if they don’t learn what does and doesn’t work on their own? By teaching and guiding them, they will become more confident in their own strength. This is true with your team members, too.

Supervision can be unpleasant at times. Sometimes that’s because we’re holding on to every aspect of employees’ projects, overseeing every last detail. If you’re doing their jobs for them, why pay them? Plus, no one likes having a micromanager hover over their desks.

Sometimes people, especially those just getting started in their careers, simply need to be mentored. Mentoring has been an effective development tool for decades. Millennials are especially receptive to mentoring. A 2016 Deloitte study revealed that 61 percent of Millennials are currently benefiting from having somebody to turn to for advice or who helps develop their leadership skills. Among those with mentors, 83 percent are satisfied with this aspect of their working lives.1 That’s incredible — and that’s the power of mentoring.

If you admit to exerting a little too much control over your team’s projects, here are some strategies associated with mentoring. You can use them right away to begin leveraging everyone’s strengths.

  1. Set Clear Expectations Up Front

One reason we micromanage is that we fail to set clear expectations from the beginning. When you assign a project, sit down with your team members and discuss your expectations. Put them in writing, and ask your team members to read them and let you know if they have any questions. Double-check that they understand the expected outcome. State a specific deadline. Then ask them to report their progress to you at certain intervals — maybe at noon every Friday.

  1. Allow Team Members to Feel the Rush of Accomplishment

When you trust people to do a good job, it inspires them to want to exceed your expectations. Let them know you are there for guidance, but trust them to execute your expectations on their own. If this isn’t possible, it might mean you have made a less-than-ideal hire, and you might need to address that as a separate issue.

Find out the unique strengths each team member contributes, and then lead everyone to set goals that challenge their capabilities. When they succeed, they will feel empowered. That rush of accomplishment will make them want to reach even higher.

  1. Have Meaningful Conversations

Our workplaces are evolving. They rely on digital communications more than ever, and many teams are scattered across the globe. A recent Gallup article notes that with many of the details of management now being automated, what’s left is the most powerful tool a manager has: meaningful conversations. So today’s manager needs to be a coach, holding employees accountable while encouraging development and growth.

The article notes that most managers aren’t ready for this kind of personal approach to dialogue with their employees. The solution? Train managers on how to lead strengths-based, performance-focused conversations regularly with their teams.

Imagine how much more time, and less stress, you’ll have every day if the people around you are all mentored, inspired and challenged!

1.The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey: Winning Over the Next Generation of Leaders,”

Jeff Ruby

Jeff Ruby

Founder of RedRock Leadership

During the course of his professional career, he has worked in organizations ranging in size from a sole practitioner to Fortune 500. Included in his experience are roles in starting and selling companies, sales and sales management, training and development and executive coaching.

RedRock Leadership is a sales training and leadership development company committed to growing companies by growing individuals through on-going training infused with the competencies of emotional intelligence.