What is Micromanaging, and why doesn’t it work?

For any leader, the most challenging thing you can do is admit that you are doing something wrong, and consequently, it is the most important thing you should be doing.

Micromanaging is a leadership style in which the leader closely controls and monitors the work of subordinates. It generally has a negative connotation, as it can be seen as overbearing and oppressive. Additionally, micromanaging often leads to decreased productivity and job satisfaction among employees, as they may feel that their autonomy is being stifled. In general, micromanaging is not an effective leadership style and is more likely to lead to adverse outcomes than positive ones.

Micromanaging is often motivated by a need for control or a lack of employee trust. Leaders who micromanage may feel that they are the only ones who can do the job correctly or that their subordinates are not capable of completing tasks without close supervision. This lack of trust can lead to tension and conflict within the team, as employees may feel that they are not trusted or valued. Additionally, micromanaging often stems from a fear of failure, as the leader may feel that if they do not closely monitor and control the work, it will not be done correctly.

This management style can lead to decreased productivity, as employees may feel stifled and resentful. Additionally, it can damage relationships within the team, as employees may feel that they are not trusted or valued. This can lead to poor office culture, contributing to a higher employee turnover. It will also make your employees less effective as they will feel as though they can not decide without consulting you, leading to bottleneck issues.

Further, it will not allow your team to show their potential in taking on new responsibilities and progressing through their career and becoming a real asset to your company.

If you think that this may be a management technique that you use, you see these issues in your team, or you have received some feedback that reflects this, then it is essential that you reflect on this and try and make some adjustments.

There are a few things you can do if you find that you are micromanaging your team:

      • Try to step back and give your team members more autonomy. This will likely lead to better results in the long term. Giving them more autonomy will allow them the freedom to think critically about the problems they are facing and address them. You can’t be everywhere at once, and you can’t be across all things, so you must allow the people responsible for tasks to address them.
      • Communicate with your team members about why you are micromanaging them. This can help to build trust and understanding. However, it is not enough to acknowledge this; you have to be willing to take on feedback and address the issue.
      • Delegate tasks to your team members and trust that they will be able to complete them. If your team isn’t capable of doing their jobs, that is an issue that needs to be addressed through performance management. If you are too busy watching over your team’s tasks, you do not have enough time to be completing your own.
      • Work on building your confidence and trust in your team members. This will likely help to reduce your need to micromanage. Most importantly, you need to identify why there is a lack of trust in your team and find a way to resolve that. If you can do that, then you will likely find that your need to micromanage decreases.

Having a better working relationship with your team and constantly growing yourself in your management style is integral to your company’s success. Recognising and taking accountability for skills gaps is a hard task, but as a leader, it’s something you need to be able to undertake consistently.

If this is a quality you recognise in yourself and want to understand how this affects your team and their output, book a call with our Human Resources Manager. Working with you, we will be able to create an employee engagement survey and make recommendations based on the feedback your team gives, and create a strategy with everyone’s goals in mind.