The Damaging Impact of Micromanagement and How to End it
With an increase in hybrid and remote working trends, some managers find themselves falling into the trap of micromanagement, whereby they excessively control their employees’ work to the point where it hinders performance. While a certain level of supervision and guidance is vital for any organisation, excessive micromanagement can have detrimental effects on both individuals and the overall team dynamics.
Based on a recent study, close to 59% of people surveyed feel as though they have been micromanaged at some point in their careers. Out of these people, 55% said it hindered how productive they were, and 68% said that it decreased their morale. While micromanagers usually have the best of intentions, 39% of employees had changed jobs to avoid working with a micromanager.
If you are someone who easily slips into micromanagement and regularly micromanages your team, it might be time to think about the damaging impact micromanagement is having. Luckily, there are various ways to stop.
What is Micromanagement?
Micromanagement is a form of management in the workplace, characterised by a manager supervising an employee extremely closely. A micromanager will look at the smallest details of tasks and decisions within a team or organisation, often to the hindrance of employee success and motivation. Micromanagement can lead to decreased productivity and less creativity, and it can result in a negative work environment. Often, it implies a lack of trust in employees' abilities to handle their responsibilities independently. Micromanagers often avoid delegating responsibilities to employees, resulting in the manager becoming the only one making decisions.
Twelve traits of a micromanager;
- Asks for continuous updates
- Resists delegating tasks
- Becomes overly involved in the work of their employees
- Discourages independent decision-making
- Gives extremely detailed instructions
- Expect overly-detailed reports on a regular basis
- Likes to be cc'd on email activity
- Focuses on unimportant details
- Measures and monitors everything to an extreme
- Attends all staff meetings
- Redoing others' work
- Ignoring boundaries
How Does Micromanagement Impact a Business?
- It Can Damage Employee Morale - Having a micromanager as a leader can leave employees feeling a loss of autonomy, which can cause a decline in motivation. When employees feel that their every move is being scrutinised and their decisions are constantly overruled, it could lead to a sense of being undervalued, which ultimately affects their job satisfaction. As a responsible leader, it is crucial to avoid managing in a way that could harm employee morale and hold them back from performing at their best.
- It Can Lead to Project Delays - If a manager controls every aspect of their team members’ workday, they could end up slowing things down. Employees might end up focusing too much on achieving perfection over completion, which could lead to missed deadlines and project delays.
- It Can Discourage Creativity - Micromanagement stifles creativity and innovative thinking. Constantly correcting and micromanaging employees could stop them from thinking outside the box, which will make them less likely to explore new ideas or approaches and they will become less likely to propose fresh solutions or improvements to existing processes.
- It Can Reduce Ownership - Employees thrive when they have ownership of their tasks and projects. They perform their best when given the autonomy to do so by managers and leaders. Micromanagement robs them of this ownership, causing them to feel like cogs in a machine rather than valued contributors.
- It Can Increase Stress - The constant pressure of being micromanaged can lead to heightened stress levels among employees. This can negatively impact their mental and physical well-being, as well as their overall productivity.
- It Can Hinder Growth - Micromanagement restricts learning opportunities. Employees learn and grow when they face challenges, make mistakes, and find solutions. When they are constantly guided, this natural growth process is hindered, which affects their long-term performance.
- In Can Increase Employee Turnover - Today, employees have more choices than ever when it comes to where they work, when they work, and how they work. If they are micromanaged, the business runs the risk of them looking for a role elsewhere, potentially losing a vital talent.
How to Stop Micromanaging Your Team
- Open Communication - It is essential to foster a culture of open communication where team members feel comfortable discussing their ideas, concerns, and progress. Regular check-ins can replace constant monitoring. Open channels of communication can also alleviate any concerns a manager might have about the assigned tasks not being completed on time or to the expected standard.
- Delegate With Trust - Sometimes, it is necessary to delegate tasks and projects to team members and trust them to execute these responsibilities. Things are bound to go wrong in the workplace, but managers don’t need to fix everything themselves. It is essential to give other people the chance to help, overcome challenges, and find solutions. This will also help them to understand their mistakes and avoid them going forward. A good approach would be providing the necessary resources and support but allowing them the freedom to find their solutions.
- Establish Clear Expectations - Setting clear expectations for each employee's role, responsibilities, and objectives also minimises any chance, or perceived need, for micromanagement. If everyone knows exactly what they should be doing and when, there is no need to follow their every move. Taking the time to do some planning beforehand and ensuring that everyone knows the plan of action is a step in the right direction.
- Focus on Results, Not Methods - It’s not uncommon for micromanagers to think that their way is the best way but it’s best to keep an open mind. Someone on the team might have another way of doing things, and it might work just as well. Shifting the focus from how tasks are accomplished to the results achieved encourages employees to share ideas as well. If the goals are met, different approaches should be embraced.
- Training and Development - If a supervisor’s micromanagement is a direct result of concern regarding their teams’ ability to complete the set tasks, it might be time to invest in training and development opportunities. When employees feel they are improving their skills and knowledge, they become more confident and capable. This also allows managers to demonstrate more trust and take a step back. Offering regular feedback sessions that focus on growth and improvement rather than criticism can also help replace constant supervision.
- Recognise Achievements - Acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of the team is a great way to keep employees motivated and confident in their work. Recognition boosts morale and makes team members feel valued for their contributions.
- Time Your Help Wisely - When involving yourself in an employee’s work, timing matters. Managers who are generally viewed as the most helpful do not try to pre-empt every problem or dive in as they recognise one. Instead, they watch and listen until they the individual is ready to listen receptively. They understand that employees are more willing to welcome assistance when they’re already engaged in a task or a project and have experienced its challenges first hand.
Micromanagement might seem like a way to ensure things are done right, but the long-term consequences far outweigh any potential short-term benefits. By taking steps to create a culture of trust, autonomy, and open communication, a manager can prevent the damaging impacts of micromanagement while also fostering an environment where their team can thrive, innovate, and achieve their fullest potential. Not only does this help to boost employee morale and satisfaction in the workplace, but it gives management more time to focus on other facets of the business.
Redline’s depth of knowledge is unparalleled in the technology sector; the stability, consistency and longevity of the business, our brand, ethics, and the staff have created a wealth of knowledge and experience.
With four decades of experience, our clients and candidates trust Redline Group to deliver the best recruitment services across the European technology arena. Get in touch today on 01582 450054 or email us on info@RedlineGroup.com.