December 29, 2021

What is micromanagement and how to stop it

We know that you are going to stop going to the gym after 3 months of paying it, that eating healthy would be easier if you did not go to see your family or if your favorite date stopped being "watch Succession" with a free buffet of pizza and leftovers. Christmas candy. Why don't you propose something really useful, achievable and that is not only good for you but for all the people on your team? Today we put on our little elf ears to talk to you about the best invisible gift you can give your organization.
The fastest way to lose talent is to micromanage it. Loving the details in your work makes all the difference, but if you do it without delegating a single element, it can also burn out your team. Being flawless is great, obsessing over perfection is a task-hindering nightmare. No one works the same as anyone else, and if you manage to clone processes, what creativity and innovation can you expect? The most beautiful Christmas trees are the ones with gifts with different wrapping paper, bows and shapes, take note!
We have mentioned micromanagement many times in leadership posts, so today we will talk about how necessary and healthy it is for a leader to stop being so controlling and understand the damage it implies.

What is micromanagement?

Micromanagement is exactly what it sounds like: tight control over everything each team member does. It doesn't matter if they telecommute from Lapland with Santa Claus or from a desk next to you.
Although it may seem very useful and positive, the reality is that micromanagement is a way of "leading" that has a negative impact both for the manager who is too controlling, and for the employee who is losing motivation with each order that is given to them.
Imagine that a manager asks someone from his team to create an onboarding plan for new recruitments. They ask if he need anything and offer their help with any questions that may arise. It even ensures that the person has the necessary resources to have all the information available. Is this good? It's perfect! The new recruitment will start straight away, and when it's done, you can review it together. There is no interference or commands to slow down the process. If, instead, the manager tells you exactly what the onboarding plan needs to look like, reviews your every move, corrects everything that isn't exactly as he would do it, and constantly demands feedback on your progress, what are you getting out of this? Yes, the Grinch appears in the office.
As you may have guessed from the reputation that micromanagement is gaining at this point in the post, micromanaging is like giving your team coal every year, it is a management style with many drawbacks:
  • Mistrust
    Wanting to control everything implies a lack of confidence. And there are very few things that are more frustrating than that. Feeling that your manager does not trust your abilities and your capabilities to get something done without his supervision, only undermines motivation.
  • Dependency
    Controlling every action means that employees need to always get their manager's approval and not move forward until they have it. This causes the supervisor to find himself with too much responsibility, excessive levels of stress and a team with a lack of coordination, security and motivation. This sounds worse than having dinner with your cousins -the little ones- at the end of the year.
  • Poor performance
    Doubt in the interpretation of instructions, loss of autonomy and lack of confidence have an impact on job performance. Did someone ask for frustration in their letter to Santa Claus? No one? right?
  • Waste of time
    Among other things, micromanaging causes two people to do the same job. It's a waste of time for the manager, who could be leading instead of supervising, and for the employee, who instead of focusing on his job, is forced to justify themself over and over again and wait for the next orders and their respective reviews.
  • Increased turnover
    Employees don't leave their company, they leave their manager. Employee dissatisfaction caused by micromanagement will inevitably lead to higher staff turnover which means more expenses for the company and poor Employee Experience that leads to a worse Employer Experience. Never forget that whoever leaves a company dissatisfied will tell you about it.
  • Limitation of creativity
    When you control all the tasks and the way your team works, you are limiting their creativity. If everything they do is exactly what the manager wants, the team will never be creative. What if the elves have a more efficient or prettier way of wrapping gifts? Employees need space to thrive and develop in their roles. Micromanagement generates behavior patterns, ideal if you want robotic elves and not innovative people with ever-growing potential.

How to avoid micromanagement?

  • Practice delegation
    It is important to assign tasks based on the strengths of each collaborator, tasks that allow them to learn and grow. By delegating responsibilities, you will be able to empower, motivate and generate engagement.

    When delegating, focus on the goal and that they have the necessary resources and training.
  • Clear expectations
    The clearer the goals are, the easier it will be for your team to define how to achieve them.

    Be careful, it is useless to explain what the goal are if you are convinced that only you can achieve them. Give your team the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and let them figure out how to successfully reach that goal.
  • Hire the right people (with the right onboarding)
    This may seem obvious, but you're more likely to micromanage someone who doesn't have the right skills or isn't aligned with the organizational culture.

    If you evaluate your candidates according to the required skills, if you recruit people who fit the tone of your organization and, above all, if you dedicate time to their onboarding, it will be much easier for them to acquire the perfect autonomy so that you can delegate with confidence .
  • Give feedback
    This is the advice that is repeated more than a Christmas carol, we know. But this feedback is like pancakes or waffles in confinement, necessary and very versatile. Everyone needs and wants feedback. It is very important to highlight the opportunities for improvement and the success of the projects that have worked.

    Do not forget to recognize your team, give positive feedback and highlight the contributions of each member so that motivation and security emerge.
  • Ask, Learn
    To ask is not to know less. How else does Santa know what you want? The best leaders ask questions and the answers give knowledge and strengths. Would you like to carry out this project? What do you need to carry it out successfully? Are you having time to plan?

    To ask is to know.
Let's call it a New Year's resolution or a letter of wishes. But if Santa Claus was so annoying with his elves, he wouldn't give him time to distribute all the gifts on time and they would all be the same. People must have the freedom to challenge themselves and push their limits, if we want them to grow and develop.
We want your team to shine as bright as the highest star on the tree, can we help you?

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