Avoid Micromanaging with Your Crew

Your staff, your crew, and even subcontractors are your company. They're an extension of you and you are ultimately responsible for the work they do. But it's important to not fall into a trap of micromanaging employees. If you have quality workers doing a quality job, it's important you keep them on board.

Micromanaging breeds low morale, distrust, suspicion, and forces good employees away.

Here are tips to help you Avoid Micromanaging Your Staff:
  • You are the expert and you know how to do the job. Probably better than your workers. If you find you're constantly having to tell them what to do or how to do it, it could be important for your business to take the time to train them to do it better than you. If you don't think training is important, you'll need to re-think your expectations of the job they do.
  • Don't forget to thank and praise your workers. As the boss, it's easier for you to see the larger picture, to easily spot mistakes and poor quality. For every mistake you find, you should look for and point out good work being done. People want to know you notice what they can do and want to be recognized for achievement. Money is not their only motivator.
  • Give an expectation of some criticism. At the start of every job, talk to your crew on the site and let them know you'll be monitoring their work and providing feedback. It sets up the expectation that, from time to time, you'll be peeking over their shoulders. It also forces you to keep a mental note to avoid being overly critical and stepping over the line.
  • Don't criticize in front of others. Sometimes, you can get away with criticism and constructive advice around the rest of the crew. But if you're going to be correcting, heavily criticizing, or disciplining a crew member - do it in private. It will be more effective and you'll allow the worker to save face. Also, the act of taking an employee to an exclusive location will prepare them for the criticism. Chances are, they know what is coming as they go off to meet with you. They'll be more likely to listen and acknowledge errors and change their ways if they are mentally prepared for what you have to say.
  • Not sure what micromanaging even is? When you worry about the tiny details on the job site, instead of the actual work that matters to the project, you're micromanaging. If one subcontractor doesn't clean up garbage in his area and you nitpick that to death, you're micromanaging. It doesn't mean you can't be the boss, but you're going to be a better boss if you let people be people and only focus on managing the whole project and managing just the things that affect this project.
Keep in mind that the job site is your office. And it can be a very dangerous workplace. You do need to make sure that people and property are protected, first and foremost. If that requires you to be a micro-manager for a short period, to keep things safe, then so be it. But, for the long run, make sure that you are managing your crew the best way you can to keep workers satisfied and fulfilled and to keep the quality of the craftsmanship as high as possible.

It can be very hard to find quality subcontractors and employees. Very hard. When you find them, you need to make sure they stick around for as long as possible. You want their respect but you need to make sure you consider their working conditions as if they were your own.