NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Nobody wants to go through their workday with a busybody peering constantly over their shoulder, but that's the lot of those working for a micro-manager.
You know the deal. They curb independent thinking, peddle minutiae while belittling big ideas and generally get in the way of productivity, likely damaging your career in the process.
And they're not rare. Menlo Park, Calif.-based Accountemps says 59% of workers complain that they've worked under a micro-manager at some point, with 68% saying working for a nitpicker "decreased their morale" and 55% saying the experience "hurt their productivity."
It all fairly begs the question: "Why would an employer or boss intentionally get in the way of employee enthusiasm and productivity?"
There's no good answer. "Bosses micromanage for many different reasons, but no matter how good their intentions, taking a heavy-handed approach typically hurts employee output, job satisfaction and, as a result, retention efforts," says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. "Personally making sure every 'T' is crossed might help avoid some mistakes, but the costs associated with failing to trust your team can have a longer-term impact."
To steer a boss or project manager away from the micro-management syndrome, try slipping these self-awareness tips under his or her door and see if they don't make a difference:
Face the facts -- you're a meddler. Micro-managers hate to delegate. But if you feel you have to "do it all and keep a controlling hand at all times," you might be a micro-manager.
"Let it go." Start the process of becoming an ex-micro-manager by putting down your personal stamp and stop making changes for the sake of making changes. Those are "bad habits worth breaking," Accountemps says.
Stop "checking in." Give your staffers some freedom by backing away from constant "check-ins." It's not going to get the project finished any faster, and it breeds mistrust among workers. Instead, provide clear directions upfront, check in once if need be and trust your team members to do their jobs, Accountemps advises.
Focus on the big picture. Getting buried in the small stuff is a sure way to miss the big picture, derailing productivity in the meantime. "When you allow yourself to get bogged down by the little things, you're taking away time and energy from bigger-picture organizational objectives that could have a far greater impact on the bottom line," Accountemps says.
Keep it short. When communicating with staff, managers should keep the conversation short and sweet. "Identify a few tasks you currently handle that can be easily delegated to someone," the firm says. "Think about the time and skills needed for the job and then assign accordingly."
Avoiding the micro-management morass is all about empowering employees and freeing them to do their jobs. They will make mistakes, for sure, but that's how employees learn to be more productive, a process that is undermined if all the decisions are made for them.
"You might encounter some initial hiccups, but in the long run, offering autonomy will help your employees build their problem-solving and leadership skills," Accountemps says.