We've all encountered them at least once in our careers -- the managers who involve themselves in every miniscule detail of your work day, often hovering over your desk to make sure the report you're working on is exactly the way they want it. They delegate work, but then end up handling most of it themselves. They need control at all times. Unfortunately, this often results in a miserable work atmosphere for their employees, who feel that they have little room for creativity or autonomy in their work.
Do you work for a micromanager? Or, are you micromanaging your employees without realizing it? Below we discuss how to recognize a micromanager, the impact of micromanaging on the workplace, and whether or not there's a cure for micromanagers:
Signs of a micromanager:
- Constantly corrects the smallest details.
- Avoids delegating; prefers to handle everything herself.
- Always the decision maker; asks employees to run everything by him first.
- Oversees every project -- big and small; employees have little autonomy.
- Takes over and handles the project herself if an employee makes a mistake.
How does micromanagement impact a team?
- Lowered morale. Let's face it: it's virtually impossible to stay motivated when you know your manager is going to pick apart every detail of the task you're working on. When it happens constantly, lowered morale is often the result.
- Less creative energy. One of the most beneficial aspects of having a diverse team is that everyone brings their unique skills to the table. Unfortunately, a stifling of creative energy is often the result of working under a micromanager.
- Lowered productivity. There are a few reasons for lowered productivity when working for a micromanager. First, employees are less motivated. Additionally, everything runs more slowly when employees feel that their manager must spell out every detail of every task in order for them to get to work.
Is there a cure for micromanagement?
Unfortunately, there's no magic pill that is the cure-all for micromanagement. However, according to Travis Bradberry, the answer lies in increasing emotional intelligence:
"By increasing and practicing new EQ skills, the manager literally strengthens the communication between the parts of her brain that are responsible for feeling emotions and thinking rationally...This physical change helps her...to delegate responsibilities and resist the urge to micromanage."
In fact, Bradberry blames micromanagement largely on the limbic system, the part of our brain responsible for emotions. Our experiences pass through the limbic system first, says Bradberry, causing micromanagers to react emotionally before the brain has a chance to think rationally. Increasing emotional intelligence allows micromanagers to recognize this process happening so that they can avoid reacting emotionally and instead focus on being balanced managers.
To learn more about micromanagement and related topics, check out the Management & Leadership section of the Staffing Plus Blog.
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