No-one likes being micromanaged, with their every move being scrutinised. But sometimes a manager’s desire for visibility into their team’s workload, and their need to balance their team’s work, skills and energy, crosses the line into micromanagement. Often, this can be detrimental to their working relationship with their team.
What Happens if You Micromanage?
Micromanagement damages your relationship with your agency team. It suggestsyou don’t trust your team to carry out the tasks assigned to them, and you don’t believe them to be capable of prioritising or managing their own workload.
As well as negatively affecting your team’s morale by undermining their sense of value and responsibility, micromanagement can have a negative impact on your experience at work, too.
All the time you spend micromanaging your team and getting involved with every little decision is time you’re not spending on productive, profitable work. Micromanagement is time-consuming and takes your attention away from big strategic decisions – that only you can make – which would have a much greater benefit for your agency.
Fortunately, there are three things you can do to balance your agency workload without micromanaging your team.
1) Make the Most of Your Team
To balance your agency workload and maximise your team’s productivity, you want to make sure that, as far as possible, everyone is working on tasks appropriate to their skill set and seniority.
To do this, you can categorise projects and the type of skills needed for each task, and then categorise the skills of your team members at a high level. Careful project planning can then help you match people’s skills with the tasks to be done.
Once you’ve allocated tasks to your team members, you’ll need to step back, and accept that they have the required skills and capabilities to complete the task to the deadline and to a high quality. This will build trust between you and your team, and empower your employees to manage their own workloads and priorities.
2) Use the Right Tools
Project Management and Resource Management are two complimentary but different approaches to balancing your agency team’s workload.
- Project Management tools allow your team to plan, manage and prioritise their workload to ensure tasks are getting done and deadlines are being met.
- Resource Management tools provide agency directors with an overview of how your agency’s key resources – budget, skills and time – are being used, and whether they could be redistributed to improve productivity.
Using a Resource Management tool will let you see project progress, what your team are working on, and identify any potential problems, without needing to constantly monitor and micromanage your team members. Instead, you can let your team structure and manage their own workloads with a Project Management methodology of their choice.
3) Learn When to Step Back
As the cliché goes, “There’s no I in team.” While you may feel like you need to know everything that’s going on, be involved with every decision, and personally sign off on every piece of client work, you need to understand that not everything is your job. If it was, you’d be a one-man band, not the director of a growing digital agency!
As your agency grows, you will reach a point where you need to take on a more strategic role to ensure continued growth. Looking at the big picture, rather than focusing in on minute details, will allow you to much more easily balance your agency’s workload, boost team productivity, and increase your agency’s profitability.
By micromanaging your team rather than focusing your energy on important strategic decisions, you could actually be hampering your digital agency’s growth.
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