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How to avoid micromanagement

Arielle Gordis 9 min read
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Workplace trends

3.6 million new U.S. workers could get overtime pay

The Department of Labor has proposed a rule that could qualify roughly 3.6 million salaried workers for overtime pay. Currently, overtime pay applies primarily to hourly workers who work more than 40 hours in a week. Today, non-hourly professionals, including executives, managers, and administrative and professional employees, don’t qualify for the bonus pay unless they earn less than $35,568 a year. The new proposal aims to raise that threshold so that non-hourly professionals would be eligible for overtime if they earn less than $55,068 per year, or $1,059 per week. If the policy goes into effect, nearly 30% of salaried workers would become eligible for overtime. Experts warn, however, that even if the rule does pass, history has shown that it could still face legal challenges and pushback.

New research has shattered pay-gap myths

Research by Berkeley Haas School of Business Professor Laura Kray has shown that the long standing theory that women don’t ask for higher pay is not just outdated, it actually may be hurting pay equity efforts. According to the research, women professionals today report negotiating their salaries more often than men, and getting turned down more often. Last year, women in the U.S. earned an average of 22% less than men, and those with higher salaries, where there is often more room for negotiations, have seen the greatest gap increase. In fact, despite continued negotiation efforts, women MBA grads earn 88% of what men make after finishing school, and only 63% of what men make ten years later, per Kray and other researchers. Kray concluded that continuing to put the blame on women for not negotiating away the gender pay gap perpetuates gender stereotypes and mischaracterizes the fight to end them.

The AI corner

Welcome to school, AI

Though many U.S. school districts were quick to ban ChatGPT, most surveyed K-12 educators now believe it’s important to teach students how to properly use AI tools, according to an EdWeek Research Center survey. Additionally, with the realization that banning the chatbot at schools puts kids without computers or smartphones at home at a disadvantage, New York City schools revoked their restrictions in May, and Los Angeles schools are now working to loosen their policies as well. Some educators hope the technology could act like a calculator in that it can help cut down tedious work to enable students to reserve more brainpower for creative and strategic thinking. While cheating and plagiarism remain a concern, educators will likely rely on live proctoring or monitoring software to ensure honesty, and some will conduct in-person baseline assessments at the start of the year to help them set work quality expectations for each student.

AI may give women a leg up in the workforce

Research continues to signal that social and emotional skills, such as showing empathy and genuinely responding to human reactions, will become the most critical attributes for workers in the future, given that these qualities cannot be replicated by machines or AI. Strikingly, soft skills like these have long been considered more “female,” with U.S. and U.K. employment data revealing that women are significantly more likely to choose people-oriented jobs than their male counterparts. Many experts now believe that A.I. will completely shake up the labor market, both in the types and number of jobs available, and through driving increased representation of women in senior leadership positions. With skills traditionally associated with women becoming increasingly important to ensure business success alongside A.I., firms may be more incentivized to commit to building gender-diverse workforces.

The right way to avoid micromanagement

By monday.com

As a manager, it can be hard to figure out how involved you should be in your team members’ day-to-day work. When you’re deep into the weeds, you risk making your employees feel micromanaged, but when you give too much ownership, it can make them feel neglected.

In a recent Accountemps survey, the majority of workers said they have been managed by a micromanager at some point in their career – 68% said it lowered their morale, and 55% claimed it hurt their productivity. Yet at the same time, Workhuman research revealed that nearly 30% of workers have felt invisible at work, and in a Interact and Harris survey, eight of the top nine complaints about leaders concerned absent behavior.

So, how can you make your employees feel both seen and in-control?

Think about the long-term

While micromanaging a specific project may enable you to ensure greater results in the short-term, when your team members get used to you managing everything, in the long-run, they’ll lack the tools and confidence needed to make strategic decisions, move quickly, and get projects to the finish line without you. It may be tempting to weigh in on every detail, but doing so can lead to greater burnout on your end and signal a lack of trust in your employees to navigate challenges on their own. So, if you’re prone to being overly involved, recognize that mistakes at the onset may be inevitable but that letting go a bit will help equip your team members with the skills and experience they need to effectively navigate similar tasks and challenges going forward.

Set clear goals and expectations

Before handing off a new responsibility to your team member, clearly establish how you define success for the work. This is the point where it’s most important to be involved and attentive – take time to walk them through the goals, clarify expectations, and leave room for any questions they may have in order to ensure they have the direction they need to move forward. The more clearly you communicate, the greater the likelihood of avoiding confusion and missteps. Once you’re on the same page about the desired process, timeline, and results, allow your team members to take the reins and determine how to get there. Let them know you’re available to offer support, and that you’re confident they have the information, skills, and tools needed to succeed.

Promote knowledge sharing and support

It’s easier to take a step back when you know your employees have other people on the team who can help and guide them. In team meetings, ask individual team members to share their learnings and best practices with the rest of the group to enable others to see that person as an additional resource and expert to turn to in the future. Additionally, encourage your employees to ask for and share feedback in team meetings so that there’s a greater sense of collaboration and teamwork. More often than not, your team members will offer useful feedback and insights that you may have been thinking or even bring up elements you hadn’t noticed without you having to say anything. By allowing them to be the ones delivering the feedback, you set a supportive tone on your team and ensure your employees are getting the input they need without feeling micromanaged by their manager.

Encourage problem-solving

A great way to avoid micromanagement is by setting a tone in which, rather than coming to you with problems and roadblocks, your employees feel empowered to approach you when they’re weighing possible solutions – or to simply update you on how they resolved an issue. Successfully setting this standard starts with not trying to solve problems for them, and instead, helping them identify relevant team members they can leverage for insights and support, suggesting existing resources to reference when they’re weighing solutions, and even serving as a sounding board to work through approaches out loud.

When a team member comes to you with a problem, ask what solutions they’re considering. Give them the space to share how they think this issue should be handled and show them that you’re confident they have the answers. Over time, once they stop coming to you with questions and start instead approaching you with updates and possible solutions, be sure to commend their independence and let them know you appreciate this dynamic.

Embed feedback into regular communication

One of the best ways to be a present leader while helping your employees succeed is through feedback. Rather than managing every task yourself, use feedback as a way to equip your team members with the guidance they need to successfully navigate future challenges. Emphasize what went well and where there’s room to improve to show them that while they are the owners and decision-makers, you are still invested in helping them reach their full potential. Similarly, be sure to create space for them to share any feedback with you about ways processes can improve or you could provide more effective support going forward.

Give meaningful recognition

One of the most important ways to avoid any sense of neglect is by recognizing your team members’ efforts and achievements. According to a recent Gallup study, when employees feel strongly that the recognition they receive is authentic, they are five times more likely to feel like they belong in their workplace. So, rather than being overly involved in their day-to-day work, stay informed on how things are going so that you can provide timely feedback and detailed recognition. Let them know when they do something great and spotlight their impact in larger forums so that others can acknowledge them as well. Be sure to give your team members credit for their contributions and offer them the opportunity to present their own achievements to ensure they really feel seen for the work they’re doing.

Water cooler chatter

Looks like guilt-tipping really is a thing. Despite the growing fatigue and frustration toward the request to round up the bill and donate to nonprofits before checking out at stores, U.S. companies raised more than $749 million from consumers at checkout in 2022, a 24% increase from 2020, according to Engage for Good.

“I wish I could stand there at the checkout on every single one and say, ‘I promise you, this is going to where you think it’s going to.”
Chris Perry, Fundraiser

A European airline is trialing an adults-only zone on flights to create a more pleasant travel experience for passengers. Corendon Dutch Airlines, the sister company to Turkey-based Corendon Airlines, will begin testing this approach on flights between Amsterdam and the Caribbean island of Curacao in early November.

“We are also the first Dutch airline to introduce the Only Adult zone, because we are trying to appeal to travellers looking for some extra peace of mind during their flight.”
Atilay Uslu, Chairman and Founder of Corendon

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Just for laughs

How to avoid micromanagement
Arielle is a writer and storyteller currently serving as a content marketing manager at monday.com. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her walking outside for hours on end or planning her next travel adventure.

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