Micromanagement: Everyone knows the term. Micromanaging is a method of management in which an individual closely observes or controls the work of an employee. In comparison to simply giving general direction, the micromanager monitors and evaluates every stage in a process, from beginning to end. This behavior negatively affects efficiency, creativity, trust, communication, problem-solving, and the company’s ability to reach its goals.
In the best situations, micromanagement is an impediment to progress and in extreme cases it can cause the organization to stagnate. Let’s look at the some of the effects that come with micromanagement.
Micromanagement prevents innovation. Employees can’t come up with new ideas and procedures on their own; they have to constantly check with the micromanager who is often unavailable. Workers become “drones” that wait to be told what to do rather than take risks that come with innovation. Employees with skills and knowledge will leave such situations and the organization is left with workers who are content to wait to follow instructions.
Micromanagement slows workflow, as all approvals have to go through the manager who will not give up control. It is not efficient for normal work to have to wait for approval from an overzealous manager. Everyone in the organization learns to just wait until it has to be done and then do what they are told to do. Delegation is an essential element in any organization and it is an essential skill for any manager.
Micromanagement creates dependent employees. After being micromanaged, your staff will begin to depend on you, rather than having the confidence to perform tasks on their own. Micromanagement makes your team feel like they can no longer handle the work without your constant guidance. If you micromanage too much, your employees’ skills, talents and insights can fall to the wayside, leaving you with a team that only knows how to do what it's told. You must allow your employees the freedom to think and act on their own. When your employees aren’t dependent upon you, they’ll continue to think on their own – and when employees have the freedom to think on their own, great things can happen.
Micromanagement prevents an organization from using the talents and skills of the staff. Employees are hired because they have the knowledge and ability to do a job. If they are constantly being hovered over by an oppressive manager, then they cannot do the jobs that they were hired to do.
Micromanagement prevents autonomy. When you micromanage, your employees begin to feel like they’re losing their autonomy. When this happens, they’ll slowly lose the desire to do anything but that which you demand, and little more. No one will step outside the proverbial box or go the extra mile for a task. You hand those same people a certain level of autonomy and they will take pride in what they do and how they do it. A lack of autonomy will squelch growth in your employees.
Micromanagement causes high turnover of staff. Let me put it simply: Most people don’t take well to being micromanaged. When employees are micromanaged, they often do one thing; quit. Considering the reasons why managers micromanage (ego, insecurity, inexperience, perfectionism, arrogance), it’s simply not worth the high turnover rate. Having to constantly train and re-train staff not only robs your department of momentum, it affects the company’s bottom line and destroys morale. Friendships are made and destroyed, and eventually this will crush the spirit of your staff.
The effects of micromanagement can be disastrous for a company’s culture. Employees will soon realize that you are not listening to them. They will undoubtedly shut down, stop making suggestions or going to you with questions. Ultimately, employees will become disenchanted and will eventually quit to work for another company.