Update: OP has since asked the question, with an overwhelmingly positive reception:
I have a professional problem, and I'd like to ask for your help. Do you think The Workplace is the right place for this question?
Working Title: How can I help my direct report to understand he is not being micromanaged?
A couple of weeks ago one of my direct reports, (we'll call him Brent,) went to my boss to complain that I am micromanaging him. When I heard the accusation, I was flabbergasted, since I don't see myself as a micromanager at all.
After talking with my boss I sat down and talked with each of my direct reports to solicit their feedback. I asked in no uncertain terms, am I doing anything to hamper your success or the success of the team?
Some people had some really good constructive criticisms for me, but nobody thought I was a micromanager. When I brought up the topic specifically, each time the answer was the same: a categorical no.
On the heels of that, I sat down with a senior colleague who has been a mentor to me while I have worked for this company. He shares a workspace with us, so he has a decent amount of information upon which to base his opinion.
I asked him bluntly if I was micro-managing the team and he laughed. He expressed his opinion that I am too relaxed in how I manage the team. He speculated that perhaps I had given Brent too much leeway, and that is part of why he is now feeling micromanaged.
I left those meetings with the reassurance that I am not a micromanager. While it helped to buoy my spirits, it really did nothing to change Brent's perspective on things, so I went and did some research.
I spent a lot of time reading some really good articles on what micro-managing is, and ways to avoid being a micromanager like: And I read a lot of great questions and answers here. Some of them helped me to understand the problem from the perspective of the victim: But I haven't been able to find any good questions or answers from the perspective of the perpetrator. Nonetheless, I tried to look at my behaviors to see where I could improve on my relations with Brent. I started using some of the phrasing suggested in the articles linked above I had read, and I tried to make Brent understand that I only wanted to support his success. I've been working at it for two weeks now, and I thought we were making headway.
My boss called today to let me know that Brent has applied for a position at another company. It just so happens that the owner of the other company is friends with the owner of our company. So, he called our owner to make sure it would be OK before calling Brent back.
My boss called Brent and the two talked. Among other things they discussed why Brent is seeking employment elsewhere. According to Brent, nothing has changed. My micromanaging ways have persisted, and he can't stand to work under me any longer.
How can I help my direct report to understand he is not being micromanaged? Is there anything that can be done to salvage the working relationship with Brent?
What do you think? Is this question appropriate for The Workplace? Is there any hope of finding a helpful answer to this question? Or is there perhaps a better way it could be asked?
**Thanks very much for your helpful suggestions. I have edited the question in an attempt to be more brief and to the point.