Psst ... Sometimes Micromanaging Is a Good Thing

It’s rare, but occasionally, the hands-on approach is best.

Two businesswomen working in their office or a boss looking over her employee's shoulder
By + More

Each of these are circumstances when micromanaging should only be temporary. But if you're habitually having trouble weaning yourself away from your employees' job descriptions, here are a few tips:

1. Hire and train well. Be careful to employ competent and self-sufficient employees. Even if those workers require a little hovering and hand-holding at first, they will soon prove capable of fulfilling and exceeding expectations.

2. Focus on results, not process. When Beeson coaches executives, he asks them to start thinking about the answers to two management questions: "The first question is where, as a manager, do I need to spend my time and focus my energies, and what are the issues and priorities where I can add the greatest value?" he says. "No. 2 is what skills and expertise do I need on my team so that I can focus on my goals?"

3. Delegate. Distribute responsibilities, then force yourself to step back. "Make two key adjustments to your natural tendencies. First, resist the urge to jump in at the first sign of trouble and instead adopt a coaching approach with employees. Second, let go of the need for your employees to be exact replicas of you," Erb says. "As long as they're achieving the end results you specify, trust how they choose to get the work done."

[Read: 9 Signs You're a Crummy Boss.]

4. Communicate. Use your attention for detail and perfectionist tendencies to be clear with your team about who is accountable for tasks, plus what the individual and broad goals are.

5. Set benchmarks. "Some leaders, often labeled as micromanagers, may have a high need for information and/or their position requires them to have details," Riordan says. "So, one additional step is that the supervisor can simply ask that his or her subordinate provide regular communications on the progress. Often what is perceived as micromanagement is simply a need for additional information on the progress of an issue."

"Agree on the milestones," Beeson adds. "Tell people what the issues are that you're particularly concerned about where you want them to communicate to you."

Corrected on 01/24/2013: A previous version of this story misstated the name of Marcus Erb’s company. He is senior consultant on workplace insights and analytics for Great Place to Work.