Senior leaders often express frustration, wishing their managers would spend more time managing and leading their teams and less time micromanaging and firefighting.

As a workplace coach, I often come across this problem. My discussions with line managers reinforce what I hear from the top.

Here are common reasons I have come across as to why managers can spend too much time micromanaging and not leading or coaching:

1. Being promoted without development

Newly promoted line managers and team leads often lack formal leadership, management or coach training.

They are promoted based on their technical skills performance. This means that they don’t have the right skills, knowledge and behaviours to manage and lead effectively. The expectations of promoted line managers in their new roles are different.

Therefore, they need training or coaching to be successful in their new roles.

2. Receiving no feedback on their management abilities.

Organisations often have little or poor processes in place for feedback.

Line managers receive little or no meaningful feedback from their managers on their management behaviours, abilities and performance. Many new line managers do not have access to quality role models, so don’t know what good management and leadership looks like.

provide your managers with feedback to stop them micromanaging
Providing your line managers with feedback is important to help them learn and grow.

3. Changes in relationship dynamics

Moving from being one of the team to now managing and leading the team is daunting.

How to manage and make decisions over team members who were once their peers? Managers and leaders often want to be liked as a colleague, rather than respected in their new roles.

4. Senior managers working at a lower level

Many senior managers work at levels beneath where they should be, due to the culture of the organisation, or because of their own weaker capabilities.

This forces their line managers to work below where they should be. The system hinders them from showing or developing their management and leadership abilities. This also ‘suffocates’ employee performance as the line manager is too close to the team.

5. Working in comfort zones

Managers can often work in their comfort zones of doing and firefighting, rather than thinking strategically.

This causes leaders to under-use the expertise of those they have in their teams. In addition, team members often feel demoralised as they do not feel that line managers are utilising their capabilities.

6. Doing and not planning

When leaders and managers are too involved in ‘doing’, this often means that they aren’t planning. In addition, they often aren’t looking forward and are not able to step out of their daily fire-fighting.

Perhaps they have come from a role based upon doing and delivering. Many don’t know how to get off this ‘treadmill’ and instead manage, lead and coach people.

stop micromanaging with planning
Line managers often need to take a step back from fire-fighting and focus on strategic planning

7. Fear of letting go of the past

Managers and leaders are often fearful about what might happen if they fully let go and live in the leadership or management space.

Stepping into management and leadership is as much psychological as it is physical. Many believe their leadership power comes from being hands-on and doing. However, they don’t know how to achieve similar power as a leader.

8. Wrong expectations

Line managers or team leads often believe senior managers want to see them getting their hands dirty. However, they have no clear vision of what it means to be a manager or leader.

Consequentially, they either carry on blindly, or make their interpretation on how to manage and lead.

Need help to stop the line managers you hired from micromanaging?

Investing in developing and coaching of your line managers and team leads will transform performance and increase employee engagement.

By allowing your line managers to continue micromanaging, you risk impacting on delivery of work, team morale and overall performance. This leads to employees leaving the business because of poor leadership behaviours.

Get in touch today to discuss how Abintus can help you to achieve the performance you need of your line managers.

Nick Howell is an experienced executive coach, leadership and coach trainer. His time spent working with employees, teams and leaders enables him to share his invaluable insight in order to help organisations create high performing managers, leaders and teams.