A good leader must have the ability to bring out the best in their employees. When the trust in their team is lacking, we can be in the presence of the dreaded micromanagement. Here’s how to detect it and avoid it.
Does your boss ask you for status reports on a daily basis? Do they not only tell you what to do but also how to do it? Are they focused only on the task at hand and not on the overall solution? Do you feel that you are being watched on a daily basis?
If you don’t identify with the previous paragraph, then let me ask you some other questions. Do you think that your subordinates will not be able to accomplish the task? Do you feel that the team will not meet the deadline? Do you need to control every step they take?
Did you answer yes to any of these questions? Then watch out! We are in the presence of the dreaded micromanagement.
Undoubtedly, a good leader must have the ability to bring out the best in their employees. This is achieved through trust in them, as it reinforces their motivation and encourages them to grow professionally.
When trust is lacking, excessive supervision can occur. The strategy of supervising down to the smallest detail generates anxiety and frustration in workers. Exercising too much rigid control can affect their performance and creativity. This is one of the main causes of resignation.
In this article, we will describe what micromanagement is and how to avoid it.
What is micromanagement?
Micromanagement is a philosophy or style of personnel management in which there is strict supervision of assigned tasks. This supervision can lead to total control in decision making.
In general, the leader does not trust their subordinates, thereby generating a climate of distrust not only from the leader towards the subordinates but also among the subordinates and towards each other. It mostly consists of closely observing and following up on every activity.
Micromanagement also focuses on the results of tasks. We can notice a tendency to change the results or to make corrections, which do not necessarily add value. This also damages employees’ self-confidence.
Why is it bad?
While the idea that a manager caring about how the team works should not be a problem, micromanagement is. Let’s look at some of the typical problems it causes.
- Insecurity in workers: Excessive control and continuous corrections make workers lose confidence in their own ability to solve problems. They feel that they are on the verge of failure on a daily basis. The micromanager does not give them the opportunity for self-correction.
- Lack of productivity: The typical symptom of micromanagement is to have excessive progress meetings, which leads to a bad use of time. Likewise, the pressure exerted leads subordinates to focus on fulfilling their task without paying attention to the global solution that is intended to be achieved in the medium or long term.
- Lack of creativity: By not allowing room for the small mistakes typical of decision making, micromanagement kills any kind of creativity on the part of employees. The pressure is so great that employees are afraid to take the wrong paths. Creativity is a fundamental factor for productivity.
- Worsening of the work environment: It is not pleasant for anyone to feel watched all the time, much less to feel distrusted by their leader.
How to detect a micromanager
In general, a micromanager has a controlling character. This is a manager who has no confidence in their subordinates and needs to be aware of everything and make low-level decisions.
They usually have great difficulty in delegating. They tend to be working on several tasks at the same time that are not relevant to management but to implementation.
They have little ability to recognize talent, as they have a very high level of demand and tend to be very critical. They are always looking at the glass half empty. In this sense, they tend to undervalue the opinions of others, making excessive corrections that do not change or generate new value. They need to be present in the results to make sure they come out as the micromanager wants. They tend to be perfectionists.
They tend to be people with a certain degree of distrust. This is exacerbated with new employees. While it is true that onboarding requires a certain level of micro-management at the beginning, micromanagers are a bit skeptical of staff change or expansion.
They tend to be people who live in a state of continuous stress, loaded with tasks and meetings. Micromanagers like to schedule meetings for whatever reason, to quench their thirst for control and presence.
How to avoid micromanagement
Here are some tips to help you avoid falling into the micromanagement trap.
The main change to make is to increase the level of trust. This can be achieved in two ways in parallel: the confidence of the micromanager towards their team and the confidence among the team itself.
The manager has to be able to delegate tasks with confidence that their team will be able to perform. To be sure, the manager can do quality control of tasks and delivery times without resorting to progress meetings. Today there are many tools for task management. Through these metrics, the team’s capacity can be known, and achievable goals can be set.
In order for the team to have self-confidence, it is essential to implement a recognition system, such as early and constant feedback as a form of evaluation, without talking about punishments but about areas for improvement. Promote creativity by encouraging proposals from the employee’s side. Involve them in decision making.
It is also essential to be transparent. When a manager makes a mistake, they must recognize it at the moment and publicly. They must show themselves as a member of the team and not above them. Create a climate of trust where employees can communicate their concerns and disagreements.
The manager must also change their mentality when it comes to results. They must accept when mistakes are made, but they must be quick and agile enough to correct them. Through a trusting work environment, communication is fluid, and these mistakes can be detected early.
Do not miss this reading: 7 skills of a good team leader in Software Development
Micromanagement is no stranger to anyone. We can all be victims of a micromanager or become one. It is in the moments of greatest difficulty or tension in the project where the need to control everything down to the smallest detail appears. Let’s not fall into this distrust and look for better ways to solve problems.
We should learn from our mistakes and be flexible to change strategies. Let’s have confidence in our staff and encourage them to be part of the solution.
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