There are a number of problems a company (and it’s employees!) will face when micromanagement prevails. For a start, employees who are subjected to micromanagement for any length of time are more likely to become incapable of making their own decisions – they will have to ask their manager to approve anything and everything they do. Surely this is not conducive to career growth, personal development and building positive self-esteem in employees?
According to business writer Kenneth Fracaro, other consequences will be:
Employees stop making suggestions and fail to come up with ideas – because they realise that their manager doesn’t listen to them anyway.
Disengagement – employees feel apathetic and no longer put effort into their work, as they feel they don’t have power over how they choose to work, or over the outcomes. They lose interest.
Employees have resentment for their micromanaging manager – which of course creates negative vibes in the workplace.
In addition to discussing these negative consequences, his article suggests ways that managers who have identified themselves as micromanagers can improve, and give their subordinates more autonomy.
But the problem is that, often, micromanagers will not see themselves in this light – or if they do, they may be unwilling to do anything about it or change their behaviour.
With this in mind, Amy Gallo has written a fantastic article that includes great suggestions from the other perspective – how subordinates can better deal with their micromanaging managers:
1. Don’t fight back – this may make the manager see you as difficult and untrustworthy, causing them to get even more involved.
2. Increase trust – identify key areas the manager seems to be most anxious about and make sure you succeed in those areas.
3. Make upfront agreements – at the start of a project about how much the manager will be involved in each aspect of the project.
4. Keep the manager in the loop – give them regular progress updates, as well as notes or emails that share information, without being asked to do so.
5. Give feedback to the manager on how they are perceived – only IF it is appropriate and you think they will be open to hearing you.
Read Amy’s full article ‘Stop Being Micromanaged’ for more on these tips, and to see a couple interesting case studies on the topic.
This post was originally published on 28 September, 2011.
Read Ron Ashkenas’s HBR article from 15 November, 2011 to gain a better understanding of why managers micromanage in the first place – perhaps it will help you if you need to approach your micromanaging manager for a chat