Micromanaging can stifle productivity by raising stress levels and worsening workplace camaraderie.

Could you be a micromanager?

December 20, 2017 12:23 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

No business owner wants to think of him or herself as a micromanager, but according to employees, most have worked for at least one at some point or another. Could you be one of them?

Sixty percent of workers say they've been overseen by an overbearing boss, based on polling conducted by Accountemps. Of those who indicated as much, more than two-thirds – 68 percent – said workplace morale suffered as a result and more than half said they were less productive.

Several types of micromanagers
Micromanaging is an umbrella term, and those who practice it typically have certain characteristics, such as a controlling nature or eagerness to criticize. However, as business leadership expert Scott Mabry points out in his Soul To Work blog, micromanagers typically fall into one of several subcategories.

For instance, there's the "I Know-What-Is-Best" manager. This type of person enjoys the sound of his or her own voice and waxes poetic about the litany of reasons why his way is the best way.

Then there's the Been-There-Done-That manager. BTDT managers can't help but talk about some of their experiences from when they were younger or first got their feet wet in the world of business management. Though drawing on past experiences can be a good thing, over-relying on them can stymie innovation, something that a majority of employers seek, according to more recent polling performed by Robert Half.

Another type of micromanager, Mabry writes, is the Pretend-To-Listen-First manager. As the title implies, these businesspeople's eyes glaze over when they hear opinions on how to do something from anyone other than themselves, although they may look like they're listening intently.

Max Messmer, Accountemps manager and noted author of "Motivating Employees for Dummies," noted micromanaging often derives from perfectionist tendencies, which can be cripple productivity because employees become so fearful of failure, they can second guess themselves.

"Bosses micromanage for many different reasons, but no matter how good their intentions, taking a heavy-handed approach typically hurts employee output, job satisfaction and, as a result, retention efforts," Messmer warned. "Personally making sure every 't' is crossed might help avoid some mistakes, but the costs associated with failing to trust your team can have a longer-term impact."

Compounding the problem of micromanaging – or as Mabry puts it, "manager-splaining" – is that it's difficult to recognize because people are naturally loath to view themselves critically. But to be a truly effective manager, self-reflection is essential.

"Employees need to be free to make mistakes from time to time."

Top signs you're a micromanager
How do you determine if you are, indeed, a micromanager? According to Accountemps, an inability to delegate authority is usually a pretty good tip-off. Managers can't handle everything themselves. Exercising faith in employees can provide them with confidence, which is imperative for proper decision-making.

Another micromanaging characteristic is needing to sign off on policies that supervisors implement. Supervisors were presumably put in their positions because they've demonstrated good judgment. Give them the freedom to make decisions they believe are necessary.

Routinely getting miffed by mistakes is an additional sign of micromanaging run amok, Accountemps noted. Mistakes are bound to happen and business owners should try to embrace them because they serve as teachable moments. Employees are more likely to learn from their mistakes when they're free to make them.

Knowing what you know and don't know is a fundamental aspect of running a business. At Hudspeth Law Firm, we can help you not only with the legal aspects of starting a business, but also help ensure you're being the best manager possible. Our team offers practical knowledge and pragmatic advice that give our clients a leg up on their competition.

Categorised in:

This post was written by