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Monthly Business e-Tips Vol 3
Issue 6

Micromanager - Are You One?

"He who cannot rest cannot work; he who cannot let go cannot hold on…"
Harry Emerson Fosdick

Micromanagement is a common problem in the workplace. Could you be this type of manager? According to My Way or the Highway: The Micromanagement Survival Guide by Harry Chambers, 71 percent of micromanaged workers say it interfered with their job performance.

Micromanagers need to be in control of everything, all work must pass by them. They are perfectionists. Since few projects meet their standards, they are quite critical. They are concerned both with "what and how" things get done. It is not enough to get the report done by Monday. You have to physically be in the office doing it, not working from home.

You may be thinking: I can be like that but it’s because I need to have things done correctly. Otherwise, product quality will be compromised and sales will drop.

Whatever your concern about the outcome, it is an excuse to have ultimate control over everything. If your employees are properly trained and you have communicated your expectations, they should perform satisfactorily.

Micromanagers find it hard to delegate anything. They don’t trust people to meet their expectations. Therefore, they must be involved in all aspects of every project.

How micromanagers affect their direct reports:

  • Demoralize employees. Workers have no sense of autonomy because they are second-guessed at every move. It is hard for them to stay motivated.
  • Stifle creativity. Limiting options for how to do things minimizes employee creativity. Direct reports feel like they are under a microscope it suffocates them.
  • Cause tension and stress. An employee’s natural reaction is to argue and fight control. That causes the micromanager to come down harder, increasing tension. Resulting stress can cause emotional and physical symptoms.
  • Affect employee retention. Micromanagers tend to experience high turnover. Most people want to leave and find work in an environment offering more freedom.

If you identify with the description above or have managers who do, there is hope. Recognizing the problem and its negative impact on others is the first step. Next, communicate clear expectations and trust qualified people to do work their own way. When necessary, train employees who have deficiencies that cause you to doubt the quality of their work. Ask for feedback from those you manage to know when you are micromanaging. If you need help adjusting to a different way of managing, a coach can support you to be more relaxed. Remember, 71 percent of those surveyed felt being micromanaged negatively affected their job performance.

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