Micromanagement is a management style characterized by extreme control and monitoring of employees’ work and processes and restricted delegation of duties or choices to employees.
Micromanagers frequently avoid delegating decision-making authority to their subordinates and focus excessively on collecting information. It is more common than one may think. Although a known killer of creativity and productivity, micromanagement is rampant in the workplace. Most micromanagers don’t do it intentionally. Usually, they can’t help but take control over every little thing their team members do.
The negative effects of micromanagement can spread rapidly and attack every department. Employees may feel like they are not good enough and may lose motivation and confidence in their ability to complete tasks.
Micromanagement can be highly toxic and is not a route you want to tread while being a leader. As a manager or leader, micromanaging your staff often can disrupt productivity, and the quality of work will eventually drop.
Micromanagers, like bullies, can inappropriately influence and control people through continual criticism and paying overly close attention to details. As a result, micromanagement can lead to an uncomfortable and ineffective workplace environment.
Let’s look at the negative effects of micromanagement, the behaviors of micromanagement, and how you can counter the problem.
What does micromanaging look like?
Before we understand why micromanaging is bad, let’s see what it looks like.
A leader is said to micromanage when he tries to manage every detail of a situation, including minute nuances. A micromanager will make every effort to feel they have complete control over their team and the projects they are accountable for in the workplace. It usually occurs when a boss is either a perfectionist or feels like their job is in jeopardy.
The typical behaviors of micromanagement include:
- Walk around the workplace frequently to see what the employees are doing on their laptops.
- Periodically check their team’s statuses on Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype, or other online workspaces to see if they are online and “active.”
- When completing jobs and projects, micromanagers can adopt a controlling attitude.
- Be ‘picky’ about insignificant details.
- Even if a team member’s approach to a project is compelling, they criticize it.
- Rewrite a team member’s work from scratch, even if the original was accurate.
- Take away responsibilities without reason.
Why is micromanaging bad?
For employees, micromanagement can impact the quality of their work, their morale, and their well-being. In a study conducted by Trinity Solutions, it was found that 71% of employees said that being micromanaged impacted their job performance, while 69% considered changing their job because of the same!
Here are some of the negative effects of micromanagement.
1. It restricts creative growth.
To thrive and grow in their professional life, employees require space. Micromanagement can limit an employee’s potential and creative development. Constant criticism may stifle innovation and new ideas and encourage more robotic or formulaic labor.
Micromanaging your employees will produce expected results, nothing better or creative. It will neither help the organization nor the employees in the long run.
2. It destroys professional work associations.
Ideally, your want your staff to regard you as a mentor who can guide them in improving their professional lives. If and when they go on to a new position, you want to be the type of boss they’d be happy to provide as a reference. You want people to believe in your ability to lead, wisdom, and experience.
However, they won’t perceive you as a wise captain who adds value to their life but as a drill sergeant who is solely there to make their life miserable.
Instead of respecting you, they will dislike you. Since you don’t trust them, they won’t either. They will make fun of you and joke about their previous employment under a tyrant. They may also resist following your orders or take you seriously.
3. It impacts morale and causes employee burnout.
Employees frequently experience burnout when they feel that everything they do at work is being scrutinized. They feel a loss of autonomy, which affects how well they perform at work and their ability to be innovative, solve problems, and excel in their position.
Over time, it can also impact their morale. They lose confidence in their abilities, and their growth becomes stagnant.
4. It decreases productivity
Continuous monitoring and excessive input harm productivity. Employees must take their time at work to process and execute the ongoing information and adjustments to their workflow. Additionally, it might make individuals doubt their capacity for self-reliance. As a result, the workforce starts depending on their management for help in doing their work.
5. It increases employee turnover.
Your employees will simply look for new employment if the working relationship is destructive and the stress level is too high. Nobody wants to work for a tyrant their entire life, and that’s how employees perceive micromanagers.
Training new hires will take up much of your time and money, and you’ll eventually have to find replacements. When you need to rely on your employees in a challenging scenario, they might abandon the ship because they feel no loyalty to you.
How to counter the negative effects of micromanagement?
Since we have taken a good look at the negative effects of micromanagement, it’s time to reflect on it. If you think you have micromanaged your team, there’s still time to turn things around.
You may turn reliant employees into an independent and self-sufficient team. You can help your employees to help themselves. “Letting go” is the simplest and most effective method to develop a self-organized team. Employees require space to breathe to be permitted to be self-sufficient. They need the freedom to handle issues independently and establish communication channels between team members.
Try to create simple rules. To help your team make decisions and exert assertiveness, make clear guidelines. These may start as straightforward rules but will eventually become a part of the work culture. It is where a team develops almost a “shared consciousness,” a set of shared ideals, experiences, and knowledge that motivates them to strive harder.
You can learn to delegate, which will lessen your stress and the amount of work you can accomplish. Here are some ways in which you can let go of your micromanaging attitude:
- Reward initiative
- Delegate responsibility and assign accountability
- Develop trust in your employees
- Ask for feedback and implement it
- Encourage participation
- Experiment with different management styles
- Recognize that everyone makes errors, beginning with yourself
This way, you can not only take the vacation you’ve been craving, but your unrestrained bandwidth might also inspire you to think of a brilliant idea or move on to bigger things. The negative effects of micromanagement can have even adverse impacts on remote teams, but that can be easily mitigated with the help of the Octonius platform.
Octonius provides a high level of transparency to work and coordination, allowing leading enterprises to be more agile and productive without the need for endless emails and status meetings.