Definition: Micromanagement implies the management style wherein the manager does continuous and thorough checking of work and performance. It is an act of high-level supervision and controlling minute details of a person’s work to such an extent that it delays the task. Such a style often generates results in the short term, but it has a very negative impact on the mental state of the employees.
In simple words, to micromanage means to direct and control an individual or system with undue oversight.
However, it is a very subjective term, in the sense that what a person perceives as interference is support and interaction in the eyes of others. So, there is a huge gap between the perception of micromanagee and micromanager. This gap leads to misunderstanding, morale issues, increasing frustration and reducing productivity.
Simply put, micromanagement is a way of managing people in which managers control every aspect of the employee’s work and decision-making to a great extent. As a result, employee’s confidence, independence, creativity and initiative drive reduces.
In micromanagement, decision-making power is not in the hands of employees, and the managers always seek to collect information from the employees.
Effect of Micromanagement
Managers who intervene too much and too often in the activities of their subordinates get a bad reputation, and it also erodes interpersonal relationships. Micromanagement is one of the forms of leadership that helps in short-term circumstances such as handling new employees, improving the efficiency level of underperforming employees, managing high-risk areas and where there is no person to take responsibility for work.
To understand the adverse effect of micromanagement on staff morale, the organization must consider the psychological needs of the staff. The four basic psychological needs of staff include:
- Connection or belongingness to the group
- Being recognized for the contribution made
- Control over his life and circumstances
- Fun or indulging in enjoyable activities
Signs of Micromanagement
- Every task requires prior approval
- Excessive Monitoring
- High-stress levels among employees
- Little mistakes are a big deal
- Lack of Trust
- Continuous Interference in work
- Detailed Instructions
- Frequent complaints in Feedback
- Inability to Delegate
- Low Employee Morale
- High turnover
- The manager requires constant updates
- Excessive tardiness and absenteeism
- Increased levels of unresolved conflicts
Who is a Micromanager?
A micromanager is a manager who excessively and unnecessarily instructs, controls or supervises employees. They follow a top-down decision-making process. They ask for updates frequently, immerse themselves in work assigned to others and enjoy highlighting and correcting others’ mistakes. This often discourages employees as they believe that they are being controlled and not led.
Micromanagers are overly involved in employee’s work and always ask for updates or status reports. Micromanagers often recruit the best and brightest people in their organization, but he does not let them be like them.
Further, micromanagers observe all kinds of work in the same way rather than prioritizing any work. He doesn’t tell the employee what needs to be done and when. He monitors the minute activities of employees and gives feedback on their work and processes every now and then. This has a very negative impact on employees’ productivity.
Reasons for Micromanagement
- Fear of failure
- Extreme need for control
- Unskilled team members
Ways to Prevent Micromanagement
- Practice delegation
- Set clear expectations and provide guidance
- Receive feedback from employees
Bosses and managers micromanage to lessen their anxieties about organizational performance, and they feel relieved when they monitor and control others’ activities. In essence, it is a sign of the emotional insecurity of the bosses and managers. By micromanaging, they feel like everything is under their control. Moreover, they also micromanage when there is a lack of faith or trust in employees’ competencies and think they are not responsible enough to complete the task.
A word from Business Jargons
Summing up, micromanagement is a spooky and damaging way of managing people, leading to uneasiness and insecurity among employees. It badly affects productivity and retention of employees. To deal with micromanagement, one needs to identify when the interference and disruption occur. If it remains unidentified, the gap in the perception of micromanagement will keep on increasing.