Every manager or business leader has their own style of managing their teams. While some managers believe in empowering their subordinates with autonomy, others like to keep the discretion to themselves.
However, the smartest of managers are those who keep modifying their management styles with the latest workplace trends. Speaking of workplace trends, you already know that a lot about workplaces are changing at a swift pace. Now when remote working and hybrid offices are the new working dimensions, a lot is bound to get overhauled.
Are the positive effects of micromanagement enough to outweigh the downsides, or is it the other way around? Every manager should mull over this when they consider the significance or the relevance of micromanagement.
This can often put managers in a dilemma. You may never be sure about how much autonomy you should give to your team. In the ultimate sense, when your team members underachieve, your productivity will be under scrutiny. This is where you may feel the compulsive tendency to micromanage.
However, it's essential that you're well aware of the pros and cons of micromanagement. Before we move to that, let us try to understand the implication of this business management style.
What is Micromanagement?
The term micromanagement is self-explanatory to a great extent. It's a management style wherein a manager attempts to supervise or monitor every little detail in a team or the workplace.
You can also understand it as the exact opposite of granting liberty to team members and having faith in their abilities.
A micromanager shows little confidence in their team members to allow them to work things their own way. Of course, in some instances, it proves to be imperative and drives greater efficiency.
But is that always the case? Let us dive deeper to understand the various upsides and downsides of being a micromanager.
Pros of Micromanagement
1. Inclusion of Experience at Expertise Levels
When you micromanage, you add to the efficiency of every team member by guiding them. Of course, because you're the manager, you hold more experience than your team. Hence, when you micromanage, you impart a sense of direction to your subordinates in a continuous way.
You can keep an eye on their mistakes, foresee the failures, and work to potentially prevent them. In this way, micromanagement seems a bright style of business management.
Also, your keen interest in every part of workflow management can promote better collaboration. It also ensures an incessant flow of information and significant details.
In fact, this becomes far more important in remote working cultures. As per GoRemotely, in contemporary times, 83% of employees depend on technology for collaboration. To add, SalesForce concludes that lack of collaboration is a key cause of inefficiency in the workplace. More than 86% of employees and executives cite it as the major reason for failures in the workplace.
You may be able to prevent the outcomes of the lack of collaboration by micromanaging. You're the pivot around which the team will align its interests and objectives.
2. You Are Able to Assert Better Support
Not all employees may feel confident enough to manage their tasks on their own. It's quite possible that not everyone in your team may be seeking flexibility and autonomy. What they may rather seek is support and constant feedback from their managers.
Everyone has their own learning pace. Henceforth, to employees who want to learn continuously, you will come out as a supportive manager. They will appreciate that you are keeping track of everything, pointing out their mistakes, and helping them evolve.
As cited by Lorman, 87% of millennials say that they look forward to learning in the workplace. Having said that, micromanagement may facilitate a conducive workplace environment.
3. You Can Ensure Better Sincerity in the Team
When you micromanage, your team knows you're watching — and this often brings out the best sense of discipline and sincerity in them.
In the present era, when most organizations are undertaking remote work cultures, employees may take undue advantage. Because they have no one to supervise them while they work from home, they may leverage the freedom at their disposal. It's quite possible that they may become a little too casual with their sincerity and work efficiency.
It's understandable that if employees begin to lose their diligence, it will impact the organization’s overall performance. In the ultimate sense, the accountability will be fixed on you.
You need to ensure that your employees are sincere, accountable, and committed all the time. As per the 2021 State of Remote Work by Buffer, remote employees may have commitment issues. While 15% of employees are overwhelmed by distractions at home, 12% struggle for motivation. To address these issues, micromanagement can be the best possible approach.
Cons of Micromanagement
1. It Can Result in Higher Employee Turnover
No organization wants a high turnover rate given the high costs of rehiring. In fact, every company looks to devise and invest in various strategies for high employee retention. Similarly, companies lay a lot of emphasis on the need to foster high employee engagement.
In most cases, micromanaging annoys employees, and they disengage or quit. To substantiate, a survey by Trinity Solutions concluded that 69% of workers consider a job switch because of micromanaging.
Moving further, according to the above survey, 36%t of employees changed their jobs due to micromanagement.
Moreover, micromanagement can drive lower employee engagement. One of the essential features of teams exhibiting high engagement is the autonomy they have. Hence, overwhelming micromanagement can lower retention and engagement levels.
It's better to have a balanced and empathetic approach even while micromanaging.
2. It May Hamper Creativity and Motivation in the Workplace
As per LinkedIn Learning, creativity is the single most important skill.
Creative employees add more value and diverse perspectives in the workplace. This is the reason why businesses are hiring for creativity. They need people who can think outside the box for strategies and problem-solving.
But as per Gallup, 35% of employees feel that they do not get enough creative liberty. For the employees to bring out the best creative talent in them, they want their managers to back them.
Rather than micromanaging, they want their managers to show greater trust in them so that they can do things their own way. They want a working environment that inspires them to bring out their creativity and appreciates outside-the-box thinking. But when you micromanage, you can kill your team’s creativity forever.
Along similar lines, the lack of empowerment may hamper the motivation of employees. Needless to say, declining motivation will result in a downfall in the productivity of workers. Increased autonomy drives better role clarity, commitment, alignment, and adaptability.
All these virtues add to an employee’s motivation to perform to the best of their abilities. However, not many employees feel they have considerable or any autonomy in their jobs. This holds them back from realizing and unleashing their true potential. As you can see, too much micromanaging can restrict individual and organizational productivity.
3. Micromanaging Can Lead to Employee Burnout
No manager wants their people to burnout. A stressed mind cannot perform to the best of its abilities. It's a well-known fact that employees who feel burnout have little to offer to an organization.
When you micromanage and tend to interrupt an employee’s work at all levels, it can give them immense work-related stress. In fact, as per the American Institute of Stress, 40% of employees report terrible stress in their jobs. While people issues account for 26%of workplace stress, workload accounts for 44%. As a manager, you don't want to add to the stress of your workers.
You rather want to support them, inspire them, and make them align their goals with those of the company. When employees are under stress, they also begin to juggle with their work-life balance. With each passing day, they begin to lose their spark and soon may become a liability for the team.
What employees rather want from their managers is empathy. Empathy in the workplace is more desirable than ever before in the ongoing times of the COVID pandemic. Everyone is undergoing emotional traumas and insecurities in COVID-19 times. Having said that, giving them more emotional support is what managers need to do at present. Therefore, micromanaging is not much appreciated as a fundamental of business management.
Find the Right Balance Between Supervision and Empowerment
To encapsulate, micromanagement comes with prominent pros and cons. While it has merits from a managerial perspective, it's not something that most employees appreciate.
It's a well-established fact now that the future of work is remote. While micromanaging may have some crucial relevance in remote organizations, flexibility, and autonomy will be more desirable virtues.
It's better that you find the right balance between supervision and empowerment. The more you empower your employees, the more confidence you exhibit in their independent working, the better outcomes they will produce. If you can inspire confidence in your team members, you would anyway not need to micromanage them.