Micromanagement in the workplace is not a new phenomenon. Every team leader has a different management style and refines it with time.
Some managers prefer to give autonomy to their subordinates. After that, they watch the team’s progress from the side, offering directions and feedback only when necessary. Other leaders would rather keep a close eye to each step. The main reason is that they feel the performance of their staff is at the discretion of the management.
In this article, we will look at what micromanagement is, what the traits of a micromanager are and how to avoid the negative effects of it in your team.
What Is Micromanagement?
Micromanagement is a business term used to define a form of leadership with constant supervision and insufficient delegation of tasks.
Micromanagers tend to focus on the day-to-day activities of employees rather than giving them a defined set of targets and deadlines. Business leaders that fall in this category assume their team members lack enough competency, accountability and organisational skills to complete a project without being constantly checked-on. As a result, micromanagers usually avoid delegating their tasks to their subordinates.
Thus, it’s important to spot any signs of micromanagement in your team early enough. This will help you build a proper process. Consequently, you will avoid its negative effects and harness all the energy into achieving the company goals.
How To Identify The Signs of Micromanagement
No one aspires to become a micromanager. However, in a dynamic work environment people often get to assume that it is expected of them to supervise others to ensure the job is well done. Here are some of the telltale signs of micromanagement in the workplace:
- Lack of task delegation
- Constant Need of Updates On Progress
- Hardly Any Creative Input And Initiative Encouragement
- Focus On The Details Rather Than The Big Picture
- Last-minute Tasks/ Overtime
- Close Supervision of Subordinates
- High Employee Turnover
Despite the mentioned downsides of micromanagement at work, a more hands-on leadership manner can actually have a lot of positive impact on a team performance and business success.
Micromanagement can simply serve as a guidance practice. A team leader who is involved in each employee’s workflow and provides a helping hand whenever there is a blocker builds trust and integrity.
Since the pandemic hit and more businesses implemented collaboration and business process management tools in their day-to-day operations, work communication has reached another level. According to Gartner, almost 80% of workers are using collaboration tools, which is a 44% increase since 2019. Considering the fact that 69% of managers report feeling uncomfortable reaching out to employees, micromanagement in the form of guidance and fruitful collaboration has all the means needed to thrive.
Steps To Take To Avoid Negative Micromanagement At Work
Micromanagers tend to take attention to detail to the extreme. They keep hovering over their coworkers’ desks to check if every tiny detail is exactly how they want it.
However, this calls for a type of environment that could get to the point of losing the ability to deliver unless said individual is present. Also, it is simply a waste of energy that could be invested into doing the task rather than redoing bits and pieces of it.
In order to prevent such behaviour in your team, give employees the free rein to do a project from start to finish, and then assess their work and give feedback. If the project consists of several pivotal stages, break it down into tasks with a BPM software and oversee the tasks completion.
By giving your team the leeway to show what they are capable of, you get the peace of mind, relax and get on with the business-critical, big-picture goals and strategies.
2. Delegate some of the management process to other team members
If you are a micromanager at heart, it might be intimidating to redirect work to others. After all, you have the mentality that you can do it all and to the best standard by yourself.
However, delegating tasks to employees with more relevant work streams, experience and skill set leads to better efficiency and wins. Tasks that are recurring or align to other employee’s interests and capabilities are excellent opportunities to take some of the workload off your hands.
Also, task delegation gives your team a chance to upskill and get involved in new interesting projects to get their proactiveness going.
3. Focus on building trust and loyalty
Trust and loyalty in a company is the foundation of its success. Therefore, try to give project ownership to team members who have a proven track record of responsibility for completed tasks.
Start applying a strong target-oriented approach to new employees at the very start if possible. Encourage new employees to get more done by breaking down the onboarding process into separate projects and small tasks, each defining one’s responsibilities and expectations.
As a manager, it is also important to show your appreciation and commitment. This is so you can ease your team through work processes and assure them you are available to help.
4. Over communicate to dodge bottlenecks and misunderstandings
Make sure you are in constant two-way communication with your team. This way, you can identify problems before you have the urge to micromanage.
In addition, be vocal about your own mistakes and take responsibility. Otherwise, your behaviour demonstrates lack of integrity and doesn’t really solve the problem itself. It is better to discuss and learn from difficult situations so the whole team stays afloat.
Regular feedback sessions and honest talks across the workplace are key to the success of a project. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to take the time to explain to everyone what their strengths are. Also, let them know what they need to improve, and be specific about tasks and important details.
5. Leave room for upskilling and development
As we already mentioned above, task delegation at work is important. It encourages employees to develop new skills and refine their expertise. A good manager would never have enough time and effort to discuss skill gaps with their team and identify room for growth.
You could include perks like online courses, workshops and webinars, install a library at the office, partner up with industry speakers, build an internal mentorship program or push opportunities to attend different events.
Micromanagement in the workplace tends to have a negative effect on the team’s productivity and motivation. One of the common signs to identify it is the constant need for control and checks on other employees. Unwillingness to delegate tasks, lack of trust in their skills and poor communication are also micromanagement traits. In order to avoid it in your team, make sure you encourage honest two-way communication and personal growth and upskilling opportunities. Set clear expectations and streamline your processes entrusting your team to deliver their best.