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Micromanaging - A necessary evil?





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During the initial stages of an employees tenure, rather than micromanaging, coaching can be an effective tool for helping newly hired employees to help them to adjust to their new environment.

In business management, micromanagement is a management style whereby a manager closely observes and/or controls the work of his/her subordinates or employees. Micromanagement is generally considered to have a negative connotation, mainly due to the fact that it shows a lack of freedom in the workplace. The irony is that micromanaging provides the manager with a sense of control, but at the same time robs the employee of it. It is no surprise that the number one reason employees leave their companies is ineffective managers.

Micromanagement is a style of organizational leadership that involves direct and sustained supervision of employees by management teams. Micromanagement is considered to be one of the "most widely condemned managerial sins", and one of the most common employee complaints, according it suggests that micromanagement can lead to high employee turnover and overall low morale. Micromanagers can be viewed as disruptive in the workplace and may even jeopardize their careers.

Working for a micromanager can be demoralizing. It's hard to be confident and motivated when your boss is so obsessed with control that they hover over your every move. But typically, the boss's micromanaging behavior has less to do with your actual performance and much more to do with their own anxiety.


Micromanagement Behaviors

Supervisors who micromanage their subordinates engage in a continuous surveillance of employee productivity and control their work. Rather than offering general instructions and tending to broader business operational duties, a micromanager engages in the detailed or day-to-day activities of an employee. Micromanagers may not approve of employees who make decisions on their own without their approval, or they may feel that it is more important to give directions rather than empowering their employees.

Workplace Culture

As a workplace taboo, managers who engage in micromanagement can influence other workers or subgroups to engage in similar workplace attitudes, eventually permeating the entire culture of an organization. While micromanagement may be effective in the short-term, prolonged use of this leadership approach can have damaging consequences on workplace culture, according to Lieutenant Tracey G. Gove. If left unchecked, relationships between management and subordinate groups in the workplace can become strained. A diminished workplace culture can significantly impact an organization's bottom line.

Even though some managers may view micromanaging as a necessary evil, looking at other side, there is an art to micromanaging. In many cases, small business owners have a hard time turning over a great deal of responsibility to new employees. From the beginning of the company, the business owner may have taken care of everything; therefore, they view their company much like someone else may view their child. So they are extremely careful with their baby, which in this case is their business. Managers must figure out when to back away and trust their employees, otherwise they will move from micromanaging into mismanaging.

It's important for owners and managers to get to know their staff for a number of reasons. What better way to get to know the people that will be doing the bulk of the work than to micromanage them? Micromanaging helps the owner/manager learn each employee's strengths as well as weaknesses. This is important information for maximizing the potential of any company.


In addition to negatively impacting workplace relationships between supervisor and subordinate, micromanagers who continuously monitor their workers affect other areas of productivity including the creativity, problem-solving, trust and flexibility of workers, according to freelance writer Kenneth E. Fracaro. Micromanagers who spend too much time focusing on the detailed activities of their employees fail to focus on more important organizational goals including departmental expansion. In the long term, reliance on micromanagement leads to significant time mismanagement and restricts a company's growth.


During the initial stages of an employee's tenure, rather than micromanaging, coaching can be an effective tool for helping newly hired workers to help them to adjust to their new environment. Although supervisors may find the direct supervision of employees necessary, micromanaging reflects a supervisor's personal qualities and reflects factors such as insecurity or attention to detail. While these attributes may be necessary to perform certain workplace duties, they do not offer any benefits to workplace productivity and employee engagement. Once employees learn their duties and responsibilities, supervisors should allow workers to perform their job independently unless an employee asks for help.