According to Leadershipexcellencenow.com, “Micromanagement is a business management style where the boss or manager controls every aspect, no matter how small, of the work done by his or her employees.”
Micromanagement can make employees feel as though their boss does not trust them to do the job they were hired for. Feeling demoralized, these employees may end up leaving the company for a healthier work environment.
Employees want a collaborative workplace culture. Per a 2019 report by Kimble, 74% of surveyed U.S. workers say they prefer collaboration, and only 21% say they prefer the boss to make most of the decisions. Further, 72% of workers say they want to take on more responsibility. They do not want their boss hovering over them or ordering them around. Instead, they want their boss to motivate and inspire them.
Obviously, you need to monitor your employees’ performance. But you must also ensure that you’re not micromanaging in the process.
Tips to Avoid Micromanaging
Learn to delegate responsibilities instead of thinking you have to do everything yourself. Research by Gallup found that companies with CEOs who delegate effectively had greater overall business growth than those with CEOs who are not strong delegators.
Hire the right people, and trust that they can do the job. You hired them because you believed in their capabilities. Unless they prove otherwise, there’s no reason to doubt them.
Clearly communicate your expectations for the job to the employees. Let them know the required outcomes, and give them adequate resources to achieve those results. Make sure they know how to obtain help if they need it along the way. Then provide them with enough freedom to do the job on their own. Resist the urge to incessantly loom over their shoulders, whether physically or electronically.
Establish project milestones, and check in with the employees as those milestones approach.
Ask the employees to show you portions of their work at intervals (such as a few pages out of a whole document) instead of requiring exhaustive updates at every turn.
Offer constructive feedback, and do not get caught up in trivial details. If the work is truly not up to par, let the employees know what they need to do to fix it.
Determine which projects and employees need to be managed more closely than others. For example, high-level projects typically demand more managerial input than low-level tasks do, and employees with less experience may require more oversight.
HR coaching can help some micromanagers
According to a Society for Human Resource Management article, some micromanagers are simply built that way and may be resistant to change. Others, however, can improve through coaching by Human Resources staff.
HR coaching may be ideal for:
- Managers who don’t realize that they are micromanaging and just want to help their employees succeed.
- Managers who micromanage because they were mentored by micromanagers or have worked only for micromanagers.
- Managers who are afraid their employees will fail and consequently micromanage in an effort to achieve the desired results.
In summary, leaders should know the damaging effects of micromanagement and steer clear of this management style.