Micromanagement is such a common problem that it has almost become an acceptable part of workplace culture. You might know someone who does this in some form or another, and sometimes it takes to being too hands-on with your employees or not giving them enough to do. While micromanaging is common, it can lead to many negative consequences including, low morale, high turnover rates, and decreased productivity.
What is Micromanagement?
Micromanagement is over-supervising, controlling tasks and responsibilities, examining work closely for flaws, giving frequent criticism and feedback on performance.
Micromanaging an employee is when a boss or manager engages in an endless cycle of nitpicking, correcting mistakes, and excessive amount of control of the employee’s work and behavior.
Why do Managers Micromanage?
Some managers have low self-esteem and need control over everything to feel validated. Others are insecure about their abilities and need constant reassurance by having someone to control all time.
Some do not know how to delegate tasks. And a lot of them are bad managers who think that micromanaging someone is the right way to do their job — so it is harder for them to stop it.
However, there are signs that most managers might be micromanaging employees who need training, and they don’t realize it.
So, here are 10 examples of micromanagement at work:
1. When Your Employee Ask “How Should I do it”
It is a frustrating question to hear from an employee. They want to do the work, but they do not know-how. You might be thinking of telling them. But think about what that means — you have to spell out every little detail of each task for them and constantly monitor their progress.
It creates too much work on your end. And it makes the employee less likely to succeed because they feel like they are being babysat instead of trained.
Once you instruct your employee to do something and they ask how should I do it? It is a sign they need training. Learn how to train your employees so they know exactly what to do and how to be successful in their jobs.
2. Always Employees Wait for Your Instructions
Being a micromanager, you are holding back your employees. Find out what you can do to help your staff reach their full potential without micromanaging them.
There will be times when you have to give direct instruction on how a task should be completed or provide feedback on performance.
However, micromanagement does not help your staff because they do not learn anything new while being supervised. And they lose a sense of autonomy at work which decreases motivation.
3. Your Employee Takes More Than Twice to Complete a Task
If your employees are taking twice as long to complete a task, and it is not due to lack of experience, it may be because they lack the knowledge or need training.
As a boss, you need to recognize this and provide them with the appropriate training and resources to help them do their work efficiently, which can benefit both themselves and the company.
Related: 8 Examples of What to Tell Your Manager to Improve On
4. You Spend Most of Your Day Giving Negative Feedback
You spend most of your day giving feedback about what is going wrong instead of what is going right. That is a sign that you are micromanaging an employee instead of training them.
You might think that you are doing what is best by giving feedback on what an employee should be doing if they were to do it better, but this type of feedback has the opposite effect.
Employees who are constantly bombarded with negative feedback lose confidence, morale, motivation and keep performing poorer.
The key is to focus your attention on providing more positive input and change your employee mindset to where they realize that there is always room for improvement in their work, which will ultimately result in higher levels of motivation and productivity over time.
5. Your Employee Needs Constant Direction and Supervision
A manager can give employees clear directions and then delegate tasks, but let them figure out how best to execute their work.
You want your team members working in alignment with company goals and objectives, not as individuals who are just going through the motions.
The more autonomy you can provide your staff, the better they will perform — so stop micromanaging.
If your employee constantly needs direction and supervision, they likely need more training to do their job. Micromanaging an employee who needs training is a waste of time — so start training them.
6. You Have a List of Requirements for Everything your Employee Does
If you constantly checking in with your employees about their progress, it is time to take a step back and assess what is going on.
It can be hard for bosses to see when they are micromanaging an employee because there are so many demands on them at work.
However, if you have a list of requirements for everything that your employee does and you check up on them regularly, then that’s a sign that you need to stop micromanaging and give them training instead.
Read also: How do You Demonstrate Leading by Example
7. Your Employees Often Come to you Asking Questions
Employees want to learn how to do things on their own but sometimes will ask questions if they don’t know. The reality is often a lot of them need help so it has nothing to do with a manager’s interference or control.
But if your employees come to you often seeking guidance or asking questions about how to do things, it might be a sign that you are micromanaging them.
Employees who need training will ask more questions than those who know what they are doing because they don’t feel confident. If this is the case with one of your employees, then it’s time to start developing your employees.
8. You Constantly Feel Like Fighting an Uphill Battle
You constantly feel like you are fighting an uphill battle with this person. You need to stop trying to control everything they do and give them the space to grow and become successful.
Micromanagement will lead to someone not wanting to take any responsibility for their work because it won’t matter what they do, the boss will find fault in it anyways. Stay away and let them learn on their own.
9. You Constantly Nitpicking on Every Little Detail
Every little detail of their work gets scrutinized and nitpicked, and it can lead to the employee feeling incompetent and insecure about themselves at work. You need to remember that micromanagement is not a substitute for professional training.
It is normal for managers to give feedback on how employees are doing with their job. When you are constantly nitpicking on every little detail of their work without providing any help, then you are micromanaging them.
Remember that the way you treat your employees can have an impact on their work performance.
Read more: 12 Most Important Skills of a Manager
10. You set Deadlines on behalf of Your Employees
Deadlines are necessary to keep on track and meet goals, but they should not be the sole responsibility of the boss or a manager.
If you set deadlines for things that should be up to your employee, it is a sign of micromanaging the person.
Doing that can create tension in the workplace and make employees feel like they have no control over what they do.
Be less controlling and more supportive by providing the resources needed to complete tasks on time and offer to coach when needed.
It will help your employees gain confidence in their abilities and become more self-sufficient while also allowing you the freedom to focus on other aspects of your job.
Micromanagement is a tough habit to break and an ineffective way to manage employees.
The problem with micromanaging your team is that you are not allowing them the opportunity to grow, learn new skills, or even make mistakes.
Employees want their managers to be supportive of their efforts which includes giving constructive feedback when needed.
When someone is not performing as expected, show the person what they can do to improve and give them space to get on with it.
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