A hand controlling a marionette, representing a manager micromanaging employees.

Why you need to stop micromanaging your startup

“If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate.”
– Richard Branson

 

Are you building your business with bold, brave action, or…

micromanaging the life out of it?

We see it all the time.

A new client signs up for our team at BlogWorks to write blogs for them (we also update old posts to get more traffic) and then micromanages us.

We love feedback – in fact we need feedback to get aligned with the style and goals of our clients.

But it can go too far.

The clues are pretty obvious:

We get back an email that starts with “I’m really disappointed with…” And then they point out two words that need to be changed.

Or, we’ve agreed on a publishing schedule, but they are checking every day to see if we’ve delivered the blog.

Building a startup is not easy.

Your business seems to have a million details: building your marketing, finding the work, delivering the goods, working with contractors.

It can be overwhelming.

And the temptation is to do everything perfectly – just like when you worked at your last job, or when you only had 3 clients.

Think again.

We love giving attention to detail, but we also know the value of getting shit done (excuse the French.)

Are you a micromanager?

Your micromanagement tendencies might be subtle or super sized – either way, you can’t change until you recognize them. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Am I delegating work and still doing more?
  • Do I easily get frustrated with the quality of other people’s work?
  • Do I find myself incessantly correcting people’s grammar?
  • Do I tend to tell people how to do something instead of letting them figure things out?
  • Do I take back assignments as soon as I see it not going smoothly?

If you said “Aaaaagh, yes that’s me!!” to any of these questions, please keep reading!

Here are our top 5 ways to stop micromanaging (hint, if you find a grammar error…smile and keep reading.)

“You don’t build a business. You build people, and people build the business.” – Zig Ziglar

1. Work with urgency

Everything changes if you’re leaving for vacation or a big client trip tomorrow. We call it the day-before-vacation phenomenon—you are working with urgency.

When there is urgency in your work – because you organized your week around specific high-value goals – you stop micromanaging. You simply don’t have time for it.

When there is urgency in your work - because you organized your week around specific high-value goals - you micromanage less. You simply don’t have time for it. Click To Tweet

The simplest way to stop micromanaging urges is to macro manage by working from 2-3 very important goals for the week.

2. Dive into delegation

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” – John C. Maxwell

Nothing grows a business faster than delegation. It is like a multiplier on your work and leverage on your talents.

And you will screw it up horribly – at first. Everyone does.

You choose the wrong contractor, over pay, or don’t set clear expectations.

Nothing grows a business faster than delegation. It is like a multiplier on your work and leverage on your talents. Click To Tweet

Growth in your business only comes in a few packages: charge more, work more, or delegate more. If you know you need to delegate, start small:

  • Go on fiverr.com and outsource some market research or graphic work. Spending $30 on a single task will teach you how to use online outsourcing tools.
  • Use upwork.com to hire a freelancer to fix your web site, or set up an email sequence in your CRM. It’s easy to create a one-time contract that teaches you how to manage expectations.
  • Hire a local student to enter contacts into your email software or do social media for a month.

3. Sell the big picture

Effective delegation includes other people making decisions on your behalf. So, instead of telling people how to do the work (of course you have to explain what’s needed), sell the big picture.

Take a few minutes to share your goals, the history of your business or this client – create some context for the work.

The better you prepare the person doing the work the better they can make decisions without you.

4. Pick your battles

You can’t do it all and you can’t fight every battle. You will see endless opportunities to rewrite a paragraph, rework a graphic, change an email or coach on telephone skills.

Choose carefully.

Your goal is to grow your company. Right?

Micromanaging every detail is a sure recipe for burnout, frustration and stagnant business growth. Stop micromanaging. Pick your battles wisely.

Micromanaging every detail is a sure recipe for burnout, frustration and stagnant business growth. Pick your battles wisely. Click To Tweet

5. Love 90% good

Every author finds mistakes after publishing. Every new car model gets updated after it first rolls off the assembly line. And you will find mistakes in the work of others.

It’s inevitable.

And sometimes you have to love that it’s 90% done instead of shooting for 100% and it’s (still) not done.

We want you to be successful. 

It’s hard – you have chosen the path of the startup, the entrepreneur, the self-employed.

You will be faced with more details than you can manage and more opportunities than you can handle.

Growth will only come from delegation and letting go. But, remember this: letting go is not about losing control or allowing bad work. Letting go is about giving responsibility to others to get the work done, fix the problems and help build your success.

It’s time to get started.

Article Author

Hugh Culver

Speaker, author, athlete and founder of BlogWorks. I speak and write about getting stuff done and the art of growing younger.

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