How Micromanagement Kills Workplace Productivity

October 16, 2015 | TalentBridge News

In his book My Way or the Highway, Harry Chambers notes that 79 percent of employees have experienced the negative effects of micromanagement. Just under 70 percent said they had considered changing jobs because of it, and another 36 percent actually did find new positions to get away from managers who constantly hovered over them and supervised every detail.

More than 70 percent of workers said micromanagement interfered with their successful on-the-job performance, and 85 percent said it damaged morale.

The numbers tell the story of how micromanagement does more harm than good in the workplace. What ramifications does it have at your organization, and how can you effectively nip it in the bud?

The Fallout of Micromanagement

In scenarios where managers are more dictatorial and controlling than supportive, employees tend to react like cogs in a machine versus motivated individuals who contribute ideas that move business forward. The destructive effects of micromanagement include:

  • Disengagement: Employees simply go on autopilot. At best, innovation is stifled. At worst, workers let problems foster and remain unsolved, instead of taking proactive steps to resolve them.
  • Stagnation: When every decision has to go through a manager and every function is scrutinized to the core, creativity dies a slow, steady death. Employees become unwilling to step forward with suggestions for process improvements. They may even purposefully withhold ideas that could lead to positive change.
  • Rebellion: This doesn’t necessarily mean widespread rebellion, but micromanaged employees may call in sick or make tardiness a habit. The workplace may become increasingly antisocial. It may become impossible to get workers to go the extra mile, as in working overtime when needed. Mediocrity may become the norm, and attrition may grow. All these outcomes erode productivity, ultimately resulting in loss of revenue, missed sales projections or customer dissatisfaction.

How to Avoid Micromanagement

The likelihood of meeting an employee anywhere who prefers micromanagement is slim to none. So if you want to keep your top talent, try and erase it from your work environment. Teach your managers:

  • How to strike a balance between giving employees a sense of autonomy and making sure you get what you need from them. You must ensure that your team is productive, keep every worker motivated, and invest in the continued professional development of your team.
  • To maintain ongoing, two-way communication. Keep employees up-to-date on why things are happening as they are within your organization. Ensure that messages are very clear, and establish a definite understanding of expectations. Every manager should be open to questions and seek opportunities to teach and support. Employees won’t feel micromanaged if evaluation and correction of their work is just one part of the interactions they have with their supervisors.
  • Effective delegation: It’s critical to find and focus on the individual strengths of every employee, and to keep these in mind when delegating responsibilities. Managers should give workers a bit more than what they know they’re capable of, so they have realistic and achievable challenges. Empowering employees gives them the confidence to do their best, to learn and to grow.

The workforce development experts at Talent Bridge can partner with you as you attract and retain leading talent, and focus on growing and engaging the team you have in place. Read our related posts or contact us today for more information.