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Four ways managers subconsciously sabotage their own teams

Your role as a manager is to empower your employees to do their jobs well, but a few well-meaning habits can get in the way


Mean, self-interested, and toxic bosses aren’t the only obstacles employees face on the job. Even the best-intentioned managers can unwittingly get in their team members’ way without realizing it. Here are a few of the most common behaviors that undermine team performance, plus suggestions for how to avoid them.


As a manager, your primary responsibility is not to oversee other people’s work. It’s to free your direct reports to do their own jobs and remove any barriers that might stand in their way.

There’s a name for managers who do the opposite: micromanager. It often takes managers years to realize they’re micromanaging their employees and, unfortunately, several additional years (and numerous team member departures) for them to improve their approach. As Gwen Moran previously reported for Fast Company, requiring employees to check in on every project adds “another layer of administration” that can hamper productivity and slow down progress. Effective managers don’t get caught up in every detail of what their employees are doing, especially those they know to be well-trained and competent. Instead, successful managers create systems for employees to run things without them as much as possible.

If you think you might be a micromanager, start having one-on-one meetings with your team members. Ask what obstacles they’re facing and the potential solutions they’d propose. Sure, it might seem easier to come up with something yourself, but letting your employees be a part of the process makes them feel empowered. Also, when they’ve had a say in designing the team’s methods, they’re more likely to follow them and cause fewer headaches going forward.

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