Employee Relations

What Micromanagement is Costing Your Organization? – HR Affiliates Blog

Most micromanaging leaders are slow to admit such traits in their behaviors. Instead, they are likely to describe their leadership style as successfully focusing on details in order to achieve the performance goals of quality, accountability, and efficiencies. While in truth there is nothing wrong with insisting upon those deliverables, how your leadership team goes about achieving such success makes a difference. In fact it is the inherent message that micromanaging sends which will prove costly to the bottom line of your organization.

What does micromanagement behavior say about your organization?

“Doubt – I don’t believe they are competent”. Micromanagement implies a lack confidence in employee performance. In other words, when an employee’s performance must be constantly scrutinized in detail, the message conveyed is an expectation of failure. While this is ultimately a reflection on hiring and promoting strategies, the target remains the employee.

“Power – They can’t do it without me”. Strong leaders are among the first to teach that authority is about service not ego. Most micromanagement related behaviors center on reminding subordinates who is in charge by insisting on tight control and extensive supervision. By re-channeling the work flow process to double back to the supervisor, subordinates are subjected to wasted time and the organization to wasted talent. The critiquing of inconsequential details is time and energy which would have been better spent moving the organization forward toward goals.

“Trust- without my oversight, they won’t do it right”. More often than not, micromanagement creates a toxic culture of distrust. Supervisors which choose to delve into details and weigh in on tasks that do not fall within their own performance objectives, imply that their team willfully or negligently chooses not to perform to their fullest potential.

What message should your leadership team be sending about your organization?

“Confidence – We hire and promote the best”. By investing in a solid Human Resource strategy, your leadership team should operate with confidence that individuals have been well vetted to handle their assigned role responsibilities. Efforts dedicated to growing your resources show an investment in the future.

“Empower – This is your opportunity and I am here if you need help”. High performing individuals are always mindful of the future and motivated to succeed. Likewise, successful leadership teams realize that their knowledge should be a resource. By rewarding those who take the initiative and seek to grow their own talents, organizations can reap the benefits of team members who are motivated to increase their expertise and performances.

“Dedication – We work as a team”. When distrust permeates a corporate culture, one of the first signs is an isolationist mentality. Since the fear of repercussions is a constant, employees are less likely to extend help to a co-worker as to hope that the person next to them pre-occupies the leader’s attention. Team behavior, on the other hand, promotes the concept that each person’s work is essential and valued. Since success is viewed as a “team effort”, members are self-motivated to perform at their best for the good of all and not be the person who has let the team down.

Unlike previous generations, Millennials and the generations which follow are less likely to find micromanagement acceptable. Rather than suffering through an intolerable supervisor, talented individuals will simply reduce their efforts or move on. Thus, organizations are subject to talent loss as high performing employees are far more willing and capable of risking a change in organizations, roles or even fields in order to escape such negative cultures. In the end, high turnover, low job satisfaction ratings, and poor performance are the result of micromanagement, not a good reason to impose it.

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