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How to not micromanage employees

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Utah Lawn Care, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,574

    I have been doing interviews the last couple weeks. Literally 50% of the people have said how they dislike being micromanaged. Can you give some examples how employers might micromanage their employees? How might one effectively get their point across without micromanaging? I would appreciate any opinions or examples.
  2. JRL8

    JRL8 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    I have no managerial experience as an LCO (I work solo or with one employee) but I do have lots of experience as a boss for up to a hundred employees. Since I may be off base for this industry I will keep it to general points:

    1. So if you take the time to train and oversee an employee properly you shouldnt expect to many hiccups when they are alone. But... you need to EXPECT mistakes. Only when they make mistakes can you properly correct, retrain and/or discipline properly. If you are always over their shoulder you will never know what their true potential is, or lack thereof.

    2. You need to fully understand your employees so you can adapt your leadership style. I personally would rather have someone just tear me a new one while yelling in my face than a cushy little sit down to chat about my feelings or some ****. Some people need more attaboys than others, I dont need a pat on the back often but a few times a year its nice to be recognized. Some people need it every day!
    -All this to say some employees might be happy to do a debrief at the end of the week some might need a daily sit down to go over their work. So if you try to always get feedback every hour/day... some employees might see this as micromanaging.

    I'll leave it at this for now as im sure there will be a ton of response from others.
  3. 94gt331

    94gt331 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,718

    Very well said!
    I agree it's good to manage your guys with the daily tasks and expectations, but micro managing is the worse. I see alot of guys that micro manage there guys so much, I wonder why they even have employee's, they should just do everything themselves. Alot of us are probaly guilty of this a time or 2 but you got to trust your guys, if ya can't let them do there job, get rid of them. I agree with the above post also, and this is really important, you have to understand each and everyone of your guys, they all have different personality's and needs. It's tough sometime to do it all, but it really helps to understand your crew and be able to comunicate with them.
  4. Eric's Lawnservice

    Eric's Lawnservice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 173

    Although I don't have any employees as an lco. I have been a manager/shop foreman for 15 years. An example of micro management would be if I asked you to trim a shrub. And as you get your first couple of cuts. I stop you to take the trimmers because your f'n doing it wrong!!! Just kidding! I usually just show them the first time so they know what I expect. I always tell them concentrate on the work not on the mistakes. Quality is first, speed is second. If I see them making a mistake. Generally I let them mess up if its not a huge deal. That way I can explain the correct procedure while the mishap is still fresh on their mind. The next time they make that mistake they will think of what I told them. No one is an overnight rock star. They will make mistakes. The key is to not to let them get away with making the same mistakes over and over. Especially if they think you will bail them out of a jam.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,805

    Don't let prospects or current employees tell you how to run your business. My response would be I will manage as much as required to ensure the best product, that part is up to you.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    redmax fan likes this.
  6. snomaha

    snomaha LawnSite Bronze Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 1,460

    I don’t know of many who would actually enjoy being micromanaged - there are certain processes and procedures that need to be taught/coached before giving someone the autonomy to make independent decisions.

    Different levels of employment may have different levels of autonomy. If you are a division manager in my company, you are judged by your ability to control 3 things - direct labor, materials/supplies and sales. If my leadership team has clearly defined job skills/levels, committed to training/coaching/continuing ed, objective KPI's and giving timely feedback/reviews - they have the autonomy to run their division as they see fit. If they aren’t hitting their goals - the leash gets shorter and I try to coach up.

    I have found that scaling a company has worked well in the past when I empower, give credit and avoid controlling - I have gotten stuck before when I have taken control and made all the decisions, rather than influencing those decisions.
  7. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,391

    That's what it all comes down to, processes and procedures, or as I like to call them "SYSTEMS"

    the Military will refer to it as Logistics.

    Take for example a company like Fed Ex or UPS... how do they make things happen? How to they ensure service at an acceptable quality? They are logistical entities that happen to deliver packages as a means of income.

    Can you go to work for mcdonalds and make a burger the way you want?
    Or do they teach your the processes and procedures?

    This is the difference between a Line cook and a chef.

    The Line cook gets taught to make an egg a certain way, the sous chef calls out the order "Next Egg" expecting the line cook to do what he's been trained and hired to do.

    The chef doesn't tell the line cook what temp to put the fire at, which espatula to use or how to season the egg.
    He merely critiques the end result.
    Either it is acceptable or it is not.

    Same with Mcdonalds manager spends more time in the office than they do out on the line.
    they look at numbers and file paper work, they trust the workers to do their jobs they were trained to do and only deal with issues AFTER the fact, if there is an issue.

    MICRO managers actually do NOT know how TO manage, so they ad lib with micro management.

    Micro management is "don't mow right to left, MOW LEFT TO RIGHT!!"
    It shouldn't matter as long as
    A) the job was done in the time specified and
    B) the job was done to the quality specified.

    IF the jobs are going over their allotted time, you notify the employee and possibly discuss why, and make clear your intent this needs to remedied.
    Same goes for quality. Same process.

    "Your results are not satisfactory, fix it" in not so many words.

    If the process isn't followed and sub standard quality or time persists, retraining, discipline or termination follows.

    Attitudes like "my way is better" or "I like to do things this way" are NOT following the established processes and procedures.... so essentially "ME. MY.I" don't belong here....
    This isn't their company and apparently, this isn't their job either.

    50% of the people (possibly more) complaining about micromanaging are either exaggerating or there's a REASON why they were BEING micromanaged.
    the other fellows ran into a bad manager (which is way more than 50% of the management out there)

    It's hard to tell which one you are hearing from at an initial interview, but taking a gaze at their employment history might leave some clues.
  8. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,853

    I don't like to be micromanaged? Who says that in an interview? That can be translated to: "I can't listen to directions". Throw out their resumes.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,381

    1. Know your employees personalities
    2. Remember, you hired THEM to do a job, they will make mistakes or not do things how you would do things.
    2A. Train them to succeed
    3. Open communication
    4. Explain rather than Tell. Employees understand more when something is explained to them rather than telling them to do things. For example, lets use spraying weeds with weed killer. Instead of saying "You have to spot spray 1 inch above the weed", try saying "When spraying weeds, hold the wand an inch above the weed. This way, wind can't blow the spray into the customers plants".
    5. Don't be a "Do as I say, not as I do" leader

    The biggest thing to me is systems. Proper systems will help employees understand their roles and job responsibilities.
    greendoctor likes this.
  10. Kirstin Mains

    Kirstin Mains LawnSite Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 2

    We had this come up last season, “I don’t want to be micromanaged.” We quickly found out that these types of employees are mavericks. They aren’t coachable, they will manage the account list the way they want to, and are insubordinate.

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