As an employer, are you guilty of micromanagement in the workplace? Micromanagement is the action of excessively monitoring and supervising everything employees do to the point where they are unable to perform any tasks without your explicit attention to approval.
Micromanagement is basically the fun sucker of the office, and it doesn’t matter what type of company you run; if you are breathing down your employee’s necks all the time, you will be creating a toxic working environment and reducing everyone’s ability to do the job and while stifling creativity and problem-solving. While you might think you are doing this for the good of the company, in many ways, you will be doing more harm than good.
Micromanagement in the workplace is one of the main reasons people leave their employment. 70% of employees who are micromanaged will want to leave their Job role for one with less scrutiny and pressure, while over 35% of people will.
So where does this leave you as an employer when it comes to ensuring that your staff are well taken care of and not under more pressure from management than they need to be?
Micromanagement comes from the top down. The key is the word “management.” If you or your management team are policing your workforce as if they are children and incapable of doing anything independently, then this is micromanagement, and you need to sit down and look at why you are doing this and how you can stop it.
It can be a good idea to get some management training to learn how best to resolve issues within the workplace without resorting to this behavior, and to help you learn effective leadership and communication skills. Bear in mind that people quit people, not jobs, so if your employees leave due to your actions, they leave you, not the employment. You can have the perfect job for a person, but if you are making their life more difficult than it needs to be or overcomplicating how they do that job, then they won’t hesitate to leave. Especially in the incoming Gen Z workforce and Millennials, who now make up the majority of the working adults in the world thanks to the upcoming retirement of boomers.
Once you have addressed these issues, then you can look at how you can improve your relationship with your employees and learn to stop micromanaging them.
If the crux of your issue is that you don’t feel people are equipped to carry out their job roles, then you need to implement a training plan. All employees should have the necessary tools and know how to get the job done. Otherwise, they really aren’t qualified enough to be performing those duties.
While checking their CV on hiring and ensuring they have the relevant qualifications can go a long way. If you haven’t trained them in how you work or how you prefer for the job to be carried out, then they likely won’t be working as you need them to. Never presume someone knows what you want or knows how to do the job. Whether you take them all away from the job role for a day to go through your company policies and correct procedures or you look at implementing training software so employees can learn at their own pace and check in for support when needed, it is up to you but making sure everyone has the right information and equipment for the job role will go along way in helping you feel more confident in their abilities.
You will never really know the impact your micromanaging and behavior will have on people unless you ask them. Do so without fear of reprimand or dismissal, and allow them to be honest about what they need from you to enable them to work to their full capacity. Find out more about how they want you to manage them, where you might be overstepping the market, and what can be done differently to improve employee culture and satisfaction rates.
Once you have a clear idea of what is going on and how people feel, you can change how you engage with individuals to help you better understand them as a person and what they need to perform to their best.
Micromanagement is often down to control. You need to control what everyone is doing to desire. But this can often mean people are scared to outdo anything or think for themselves for fear of being reprimanded.
Instead, loosen the reigns slightly and delegate tasks, and reduce any interference from yourself. Sit back and see what happens when employees are allowed to take control and then assess their capabilities. It can be that you uncover some hidden talents or expertise you were unaware of. At the very least, productivity will rise, and that can only be a good thing.
Do people have to clear everything with you or upper management before making decisions? If so, this will likely impact how quickly they can complete things or how smoothly things run under their control. Cut the apron strings and allow employees to make more choices themselves and use their initiative without asking permission. It can be something as simple as letting them use your business gas cards when working long distances for the company or to make purchases in your absence, or it can be giving them deadlines and freedom to create results within the given timeframe to see them flourish with more possibility over how they hit their targets and get the job done.
Whatever applies to your business allows people the freedom and increased responsibility to carry out the job role and find out how capable they really are.
If you are getting the feeling not everyone is on the same page as you, then this can be a direct result of miscommunication on your part. Again, you need to be clear in how you communicate and what you say, and never assume people know or understand what is expected of them. No one is a mind reader.
Pay attention to how you communicate with your employees, your language, and how people respond to this. You need to be explicitly clear about what your objectives and expectations are, and you need to be confident everyone understands what is expected of them. Check-in and ask for feedback on your communication, take a course on how to better communicate with employees, and be sure everyone is confident they know what to do before letting them get on with things. This way, you have little room for mistakes or miscommunication to help you avoid resorting back to micromanaging to get the results you need.
If you are constantly mentoring what is going on, this will be detrimental to the workplace atmosphere and will likely result in the opposite happening to what you need. While as the owner or a member of management, you need to be present, there is such a thing as being too present. Being the shadowy figure that looms over people won’t be welcome or, in many cases, required on a near-constant basis.
To tackle micromanagement, why not try removing yourself from the equation? It can be for a morning or an early dart one day to see what happens once you leave. If things run as required, you can start implementing more time working from home or even staying on-site but taking a handoff approach. If your team feels you are confident in their abilities to carry on without you, this will boost their confidence and yours too. Take a deep breath, step away from the office, and let go of control, even for a short while.
Sometimes you can do everything right and be the perfect boss, but if the team doesn’t gel well or your employees aren’t quite the right fit, you will likely find you need to micromanage as standard. The only solution for this is to get the right team in place. Trust goes a long way when building an effective workforce, and if you don’t trust they are the right people for the job, then you need to find people who are. Whether this means redistributing people or letting them go to make way for fresh blood, it is up to you, but once you have your people in the place, you will find you can step back easier and avoid micromanaging.
Micromanagement is something that can easily be avoided but is altogether too common across the US. As times change and people want more from their employment, satisfaction and a healthy work-life balance are two such examples, so will how employers react to those needs to ensure they retain balance and equilibrium within the company. Eliminating micromanagement from how you operate is a great place to start and will serve you well in the long term.