One of the most evident statements about micromanagement is that micromanagers control outcomes and not people. This might be true to some extent but we believe at looking at things from different perspectives.
The most obvious part is that the word has a negative connotation. And why not, it is frustrating and demotivating. As if dealing with a tough job wasn’t enough, you now have to deal with a nagging boss.
Before going any further let's look at what exactly is micromanagement.
What is Micromanagement
In a nutshell, it is a style of management where the manager monitors its subordinates extensively.
This is so dreaded in the current industry that job seekers usually shy away from companies that practice micromanagement.
But let’s look from the perspective of a manager. It must be frustrating to watch someone screw up when you very well know how to avoid the pitfalls.
Its oodles of times for harder not to keep silent when someone is making a mistake on your project.
But is that a license for micromanaging?
And of course, is it actually that bad?
Let's look at what happens when a manager closely observes his subordinates.
1. Damages trust
This is probably the most damaging aspect of micromanaging your staff. Your employees no longer see you as a knight in shining armor leader but rather as a brute boss. This nagging attention to details destroys the little trust that existed between you and your subordinates.
Lack of trust between you and your employees can have two consequences. Either it can result in a loss of motivation or worse, loss in personnel.
Yes, employee attrition is a real problem of micromanagement.
Trust is a mutual emotion. Your subordinates will trust you only as much as you trust them.
2. High Attrition Rates
Without beating around the bush, it's a fact that people don’t like to be bossed around. Micromanaging your subordinates or employees will lead to frustration and dip in productivity and finally increase in turnover rates.
Paying attention to insignificant and minute details rob your employees of their freedom. Which ultimately destroys morale and affects the momentum of your company.
Even from a financial point of view, micromanagement doesn’t seem to make much sense. High turnover rates ultimately diminish any financial gains from your knack of perfectionism.
3. High Burnout
The irony is that this is not just about your employees but also your problem too. Here’s a simple fact: Micromanaging is exhausting. Treating your employees like kids and looking at their every step will soon burn you out.
Burnout will soon lead to you hating your job and the very company you are working with. We have seen countless managers leaving their job due to burnout. A bad role makes you not only hate your company but also the role. Very often we have seen people not willing to go back to any management role.
Another fact: burnout usually affects the ones beneath you. Most managers end up venting their frustration on their subordinates. This again leads to burnout and frustration for your employees.
Burnout is a vicious cycle and it takes a toll on both your physical and mental health.
Sometimes its easier and better for everyone if you take a step back and leave some room to breathe for both your employees and yourself.
4. Dependent Employees
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they tell us what to do”- Steve Jobs
We believe that Steve Jobs was right to some extent on his take extreme supervision.
One unseen effect of micromanagement is that your subordinates or employees become totally dependent. Your employees steadily lose their confidence and ability to work on a project when you fail to delegate work with autonomy.
And of course, it doesn’t make sense, does it? You hired a talent because he bought something fresh and exciting to the table. What’s the point if you are going to dictate and kill his creativity?
We believe that when people are given the right amount of freedom in their work, magic happens. Just look at some of the biggest companies in the world and you will notice that they are not very strong advocates of micromanagement. Coincidence?
5. Narrow Vision And Scope
Another very neglected effect is the loss of control and vision. When managers demand frequent updates from their subordinates or employees, it is an indication that they are losing the sight of the big picture and focused on only the short term gains.
Also when a manager closely observes his employees, his management tools become very limited. Slowly the only management tool at his disposal is control. An interesting fact about control is that when it is the only management tool exercised people usually end up losing it.
And of course, another pungent effect of micromanagement is that your vision becomes the team’s or company’s vision. Your employees lose their creativity and ultimately lose the ability to bring anything new to the table.
Enough of negativity! There must some positivity to micromanaging your employees, right? You are not wrong.
1. Greater Control
Let's face it. This is one of the most obvious reasons why managers engage in micromanagement. They want greater control over the operations and results of the project. The bottom line is if you are paranoid perfectionist then closely overseeing and paying attention to minute details is one of the more attractive perks.
Since a manager is more experienced than its subordinates, he is more likely to foresee and avoid any negative outcome of a process.
2. Get New Employees Up To Speed
It's difficult for new employees to understand the tricks of our trade, more so if your new talent has no prior experience and is a fresher. Closely monitoring the activities of your new employees is a great way to bring your new employees up to speed.
This makes it easier for new employees to add value to their departments because of the intense onboarding process they went through.
3. Delegation Of Work is Easier
Since you have been closely observing your team, the delegation of work is far easier. In any case delegation of work is easier for a micromanager than a macro manager. Since a micromanager is doing most of the work, he will be the perfect person to delegate any task about the project.
4. Highly Engaged With the Team
One thing you cannot accuse a micromanager of is not being engaged with its team. They have better communication skills when compared to a macro manager and can be highly engaged with the team. Any problem in the team is aptly dealt with by the manager without any second thought.
They take upon their shoulders the task of delivering outstanding results and usually do not fail very often.
The bottom line is that every CEO dreams of having a manager whom he can rely upon and have great attention for details.
At the end of the day, micromanagement is a sensitive issue and should be dealt with a cautious hand. There is a very thin line between achieving outstanding results and inducing attrition through micromanagement. The idea is to find where the line is.
Decoding and Driving Employee Engagement