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Why Micromanaging is Killing Your Business


What is micromanagement

While some leaders try to avoid being a micromanager at all costs, others can have a management style that involves closely observing, controlling, and reminding their employees of their duties. This management style is known as micromanagement. It is frequently recognized to have a negative undertone, mainly because it lacks freedom in the workplace.

What makes a micromanager behave this way

According to Robert Hurley, author of "MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM MICROMANAGER TO LEADER," 30 to 35% of executives succeed as managers but waver when they find themselves in a higher-level position that entails leadership. Often, micromanagers have benevolent ambitions and don't act out of malice.

Micromanagers are plentiful in today's organizations, and they typically aren't concerned with performance. "It's more about your bosses' level of internal anxiety and need to control situations than anything about you," says Jenny Chatman, a professor of management at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley who researches and consults on organizational culture.

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The pros and cons

Micromanagement is often disputed to be one of the worst, most damaging, and morale-depleting ways of managing employees. Micromanagers spend a large amount of their time observing the work of others, in turn, wasting time that could have been spent on more fruitful endeavors, such as developing systems or creating new processes. They often inundate themselves with trivial details and create unnecessary reports about their employees' progress on projects that their team members are usually capable of handling independently.

Employees can often feel that their boss doesn't trust them or value their contributions when being micromanaged. This causes workers to feel disrespected, devalued and demoralized. Over time, employees' professional growth is stunted because the micromanager won't give them opportunities to succeed.

Since micromanagers usually have good intentions, there can be some advantages. They can be highly involved and profoundly engaged, influence significant tasks, get the best out of their team, add value to any department, know to whom they should delegate, and develop empathy naturally. Although strong oversight is required, it must be done with positive energy that builds trust and relationships. Once goals are met, leadership should go back to usual and cease micromanagement. If and when employees backslide, turn up the micromanagement again. Expectations and consequences should be clear.

How to spot a micromanager

A micromanager is likely someone who wants it done their way but provides little context, support, help, or advice. It's easier than ever to send an email chain or conference call and make demands without having full context about what's transpiring.

Professor teaching

Managers rarely view themselves as such. According to a survey, 79% of employees claimed they'd been micromanaged at one point or another. Moreover, 91% of managers were unaware of employees changing their job due to their micromanagement behaviors. Employee evaluations can be helpful, but constant reports without concrete feedback may diminish productivity. A common complaint about micromanagers is that they are too involved and metaphorically “crack the whip” to ensure everyone is hitting their numbers. Pay attention to the way your team members are treated by management. If you notice that your manager limits the candid stream of concepts and is fixated on minor details, they may be micromanaging. If a manager often asks for progress updates, this could also be a sign of micromanaging. Employees need an opportunity to get their tasks done before reporting on what they have done.

How should I address micromanagement?

Changing micromanagers often begins when they are shocked into realizing that their management style is offensive. If you notice micromanagement in the workplace, address it directly. Set up a meeting with the manager who exhibits this management behavior to discuss ways of creating a better work environment- reiterating their obligations as a manager is to offer their team support, guidance, and leadership. Make it clear that it's their job to work on the company's goals rather than commanding the details of minor tasks. Highlight specific instances of micromanagement so they can learn to prevent these behaviors in the future.

This is easier said than done, and the way it is delivered is everything! Believe it or not, managers need feedback just as much as employees do. Managers should proactively seek ways to get better at their jobs by asking for input from their employees. Try approaching with sensitivity and caution, avoiding accusations. Try using the phrase: "For me to be the most productive..." followed by what would make you the most productive. Make it clear that you want to work and want to do it well, but their current management style isn't working.

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Eliminate the need for micromanagement

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a management technique that provides valuable micromanagement elements without total control. OKRs are how you track progress, create alignment, and encourage engagement around measurable goals. This is done by setting five or fewer objectives related to the team or an individual, ensuring that goals are actionable, specific, time-bounded, measurable, and relevant. By defining up to 4 quantifiable results for each objective, returns should be challenging but achievable and lead to progress.

While there are some circumstances when micromanaging can be effective, always remember- It's a short-term tool and should never be implemented as a long-term solution.

By: Jowanna's Corner

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