Micro-management can be the death of teams, initiatives, organizations and long-awaited impact. It is defined as a management style that closely observes or controls the work of subordinates or employees. In fact, the exertion of excessive control is one of the hallmarks of positional leadership- the lowest level of leadership.
Here are four unwanted outcomes that micromanagement breeds:
- Transactions, not transformation. When there is a constant check-in on numbers, stats, and quantitative metrics of any kind, what you end up doing is establishing a culture of transactions instead of transformation achieved by creating value through relationships. In a transactional culture, you will quickly find that numbers matter, not people. That’s a slippery slope to cold, impersonal and unethical behavior.
- Demoralization instead of inspiration. Great leaders learn what motivates their people. They lead by inspiring vision, encouraging participation, and giving people what they need to excel. Many managers mistake criticism as coaching. Pointing out shortfalls; constantly warning of impending failure if “abc” isn’t done; and accentuating the negative is not coaching. That’s disheartening and demoralizing.
- Resentment, then rebellion. Trust is a key element in high performance teams. Smart, capable people want to be left alone to do their jobs. However, micromanagers don’t trust their people to get the job done per their standards and timeframes. Excessive attention from management can become annoying and ultimately undermine the performance they’re trying to drive. When a work environment starts to feel stifling or oppressive, rebellion and underperformance soon follow.
- Loss of great employees. To put it simply, people hate to be micro-managed. More often than not, highly-skilled and valuable employees quit when they repeatedly find themselves under the thumb of a relentless micro-manager. They know that their skill sets are currency in the marketplace… so, unnecessary, intense scrutiny of their work only pushes them out the door faster.
Takeaway: Hovering is not the key to high performance. If you’ve provided direction through vision and hired the right people for the job (skilled and passionate about their work) then let them do what they do. You’d be surprised at what confidence in your people can generate.
(Source: Judiffier Pearson, Business Consultant, UGA SBDC at Clayton State University)