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Micromanagement is Bad Management: How to Avoid It

Posted by Brian Spence on Sep 24, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Micromanagement, Career AdviceEffective management is essential to any business. Micromanagement has the appearance of effectiveness, in that the manager has tight control of the project. However, it has a negative impact which strips away any effectiveness by damaging morale.

Oleg Vishnepolsky, Global CTO at DailyMail Online and Metro.Co.Uk, argues that managers who micromanage treat their employees as if they were stupid. This treatment can lead to employees who either rebel against management, become incapable of making independent decisions, lead to high turnover rates, or - even worse - quit their job while still working for you through greatly diminished effort and engagement.

Two causes of micromanagement:

  1. Not knowing how to step back and empower the team;
  2. Insecurity and/or a need for control.

Four tendencies in micro-managers.

  1. Wanting to be included in every meeting and email;
  2. Feeling they could have done the task better themselves;
  3. Never being satisfied with employees' work; 
  4. Delighting in correcting others.

Another thing that micro-managers typically do which negatively impacts the employees they're supposed to be leading is demanding detailed time accounting. This demand usually leads to incentivizing employees to appear busy rather than effectively completing quality work.

Stepping away from micromanagement

Identifying yourself as a micro-manager doesn't condemn you to always being a micro-manager. There are various changes to your management style that will lead you away from this habit.

  1. Letting go of perfection: In a perfect world, perfectly executed projects are an attainable goal. In the imperfect world we live in, the pursuit of perfection leads to micromanaging. Not expecting perfection does not equate acceptance of poor-quality work. Set a high standard for quality but consider whether your team can meet it.
  2. Set meetings and updates less frequently: If you find yourself micromanaging because you feel like you need to control the project or know every day how it's progressing, a way to step away from the habit is to request updates weekly rather than daily.
  3. Shift your mindset: To escape the habit of micromanaging you should back away from taking an active part in the details of the job. You do that by trusting your team to handle the details. Thinking of yourself as the leader of the team rather than the manager can give you that mental step.

For more information on this and related topics, visit the Career Advice and Management & Leadership sections of our blog.


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