Why Micromanagement Is So Very Bad

Management training can help eliminate the problems of micromanagement. Learn more at oasisadvantage.com.


Micromanagement, also known simply as excessive supervision, is commonly accepted as a negative force and a poor choice of management style. Despite this, it is still a widespread problem in the workplace. There is a multitude of reasons why micromanagement continues to happen even though we know it is corrosive to the workplace. Let’s drill down into a few common reasons.

Managers who turn into micromanagers are often:

  • Perfectionists at heart. They want to control the entire process to ensure its outcome will be up to their standards.
  • Micromanaged themselves. Many micromanagers are dealing with micromanagers above them, which makes them compelled to pass this style along to those who report to them.
  • Lacking training. The lack of training could be internal, e.g., poor people skills, unsure of how to delegate, inferior leadership experience; or it could reside with their team leaving them unconfident that their reports can get the job done.
  • Unmeasured. Due to a lack of accountability and objective measurement tools, micromanagers can be left to their own (subpar) management styles.

The results of having micromanagers in the midst of your company can be devastating. In today’s job market where recruiting is a top challenge and retaining top employees is harder than ever, a negative internal environment due to micromanagement practices can eat away at your team. There are also many other possible detriments to your company that come about as a result of micromanagement, such as:

  • Lack of productivity
  • Lack of collaboration and teamwork
  • Lack of morale
  • Increased employee turnover
  • Damage to your external brand and recruiting efforts

So, what if you were a micromanager and you didn’t even know it. It’s common that we lose sight of what we may be doing wrong or lack the objectivity to asses our management style on our own. So, here’s a five-point checklist to help you determine if you are a micromanager:

  1. Do you struggle with delegating work to others?
  2. Does every decision need to have your approval?
  3. Do you notice that your team is complaining about the amount of reporting you require them to submit?
  4. Do you shoot down ideas that your team members make and tell them to do it your way?
  5. Are you bogged down in details with little time to look at the big picture?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you’ve likely fallen into the micromanagement trap. The good news is, you can climb out of this trap with a little effort and perseverance.

Let your team fail. A team that is scared to fail will never take a risk, never throw a “dumb idea” that changes the company and never think outside the box. Encourage forward-thinking without repercussions and let your team know you’ll stand with them if they make a mistake chasing bigger things for the company.

Set up challenges for your team. Let your team members take on more responsibility and learn new skills. They will grow professionally, and your output quality will grow as they grow.

Encourage new ideas and feedback. Create a channel for them to communicate with you. Do they have a new idea? Is there a process they see that could be improved? Do they see an area where they could take on more? Be sure you encourage forward-thinking and progress.

Learn to delegate. Delegating tasks is one of the hardest things for even the non-micromanager to master. Start by making a list of tasks that you do on a regular basis, then define what level of training might be required for each. Obviously, the low-hanging fruit is a great place to start but don’t shy away from delegating those tasks or projects that are challenging.

Micromanagement can be corrosive to your team’s morale, productivity and your business’s culture.

Training programs and courses are a specialty of Oasis, A Paychex Company. In addition to training and development, Oasis can assist with all your HR tasks, including recruiting, onboarding, payroll administration, culture development, compliance and benefits administration.

For more information on how Oasis, a Paychex Company, can assist your company in this or any area of Human Resources, contact us at 866-AT-OASIS (866-286-2747) or visit us online at www.oasisadvantage.com.

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