Micromanaging is the constant hovering, direction giving, and basically boss nagging of the employee. This is enough to drive almost any employee crazy. Most micromanaging bosses do not see the eye rolls of their employees as they walk away. As a manager it is important to strike a balance between managing and micromanaging.
To manage employees you must give them guidance and suggestions, then let them go off and complete the project using their own expertise. However, many managers feel that if they do not control absolutely every aspect of the project it will not be completed correctly. Therefore, they hang over their employees shoulders or bombard them with emails asking for progress updates. The purpose is to prevent damaging mistakes, but the mistakes made to the employees’; trust and morale is far worse.
Reasons why managers micromanage
The basis of micromanagement is a lack of trust. The manager lacks trust in the employee’;s performance. There may be many reasons why the manager feels this way. Perhaps the employee has made mistakes in the past. If this is true the manager may not feel comfortable giving the employee a new assignment. The manager may feel that he or she is the only one who can do the work correctly. This mentality says no one else will ever be good enough therefore the efforts of the employee will never meet the manager’;s standards. Whatever the reason the manager feels he needs to hover over the employee, there are some devastating effects as a result of micromanaging.
The effect of micromanagement on employees
A report from BlessingWhite, an HR consultancy, states that one third of American employees expressed they were being micromanaged. The effect of this is an extremely unhappy workforce. Employees can sense the lack of trust in their work which will cause them to feel resentful. If you are a micromanager, your employees are suffering from a lack of motivation as a result.
Think about it, would not you lose your motivation if you felt that no matter what was not good enough? The finished morale will stifle the creativity of the employee. The manager will soon find that there is a breakdown in communication with the employee. Most employees do not feel comfortable bringing this problem to the attention of their managers. Instead of confronting the problem the employee usually chooses the option of avoidance. The manager will experience emails and phone messages not being returned as quickly.
In addition, the employee will have trouble with their problem-solving skills. Being micromanaged will make them question their ability to make good decisions. Ultimately, employee engagement is reduced before the employee will eventually leave the company. This may explain why a particular department in your company is experiencing high employee turnover.
Stop the micromanaging process
Improving your ability to trust in your employees will help you stop micromanaging them. The best way to increase trust is:
- First, give your employees an assignment with instructions on performing the task. Ask the employee to repeat the instructions back in their own words. Listen carefully to make sure they know your expectations.
- Second, give the employee a date to come back and give a progress report. Then offer the employee the chance to ask questions, if they need additional direction.
- Third step is the hardest part, leave the employee alone. Allow them to use the instruction youave them coupled with their own expertise and experience. At the time of the progress date when the employee returns, give feedback positive and negative, give additional instruction and then assign a new progress date.
- Fourth step is to keep repeating this process until the deadline.
Later when it’;s time to do a like project you will have more trust in the employee to do the assignment correctly. You and the employee will benefit from a better relationship as a result.