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Stop Micromanaging Remote Employees

Does anyone really like to be micromanaged? When managing remote employees, micromanagement can have a lasting negative impact on employee retention, morale, productivity, and satisfaction. It can also create hostility and waste time that could be spent on other more productive work or means of management. There could be several reasons why a supervisor feels the urge to micromanage, but the long-term damage is reason enough to consider changing your leadership style, especially if your organization is moving or has moved to a remote work environment.

Utilizing the luxury of an in-person work setting as a means of keeping an eye on your employees’ work can cause difficulties when shifting to a remote setting where you cannot see what your team is doing at all times. The inability to walk by their desk, see them in the breakroom, call them into your office, or other easily accessible means of communication may cause stress and uncertainty in the work your team is putting into their duties. 

There are ways to practice managing remote employees in a respectful, effective way that doesn’t rely on micromanagement tactics. If you see signs of micromanagement in yourself or someone who reports to you, the first step is to recognize the need for change and consider how you might begin to make the shifts.  Here are some suggestions for how to stop micromanaging remote employees:

Set Clear Expectations

Make sure your team members know exactly what is expected of them from the beginning to avoid room for interpretation. Your expectations should be measurable, with metrics to apply measurement to. This could be done based on the deadline and/or quality of output. A tool to measure these key performance indicators would be helpful for streamlining the management process. 

Use Systems

By using a technology platform to manage work, your results could be digitized into metrics, and measured on reports. A project management tool or a client management system tied to great standard operating procedures could be an easy way to maintain communication on the status of duties without having to bother the team with too many questions. Results could be recorded and applied to metrics that can be tracked in a performance management program.

Maintain Trust

Maintaining trust among your direct reports and colleagues requires you to trust they are doing their job. Use tools other than a repetitive direct follow-up to check on the status of items. Consider asking your employees how they wish to communicate status or use technology as an indirect form of communication to track progress. Focus on the milestones rather than the progression status.

Apply Values

Showing your employees respect and compassion is an example of using values-based leadership to guide your interactions when managing remote employees. How would you like to be treated by your manager or colleagues? Apply empathy to your management techniques to determine what values you want to uphold as a leader and put them in plain sight as a reminder of how you want your direct reports to feel. 

Managing remote employees can be supported by many tactics and tools. Read on for more tips on building a productive and engaged remote workforce.

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