Micromanagement is Great, Sometimes!

May 06, 2024 •


Everyone hates micromanagement. They hate it with a passion and I understand why. This hate blinds them from seeing how it can benefit their organization, and that's what I want to highlight. I use micromanagement sparingly in specific situations to benefit my team.  

Micromanagement is almost always the worst thing to do, almost. It makes your employees demotivated and stressed, creates a lack of trust, and kills your team’s productivity. You get fewer things done, and everyone is left demotivated and frustrated. I use it differently as an extra screening tool during the interview process. This has benefited my team and new employees. Here, you can learn when it makes sense to sprinkle some micromanagement.  

Testing using Micromanagement

You cannot evaluate a person's skills and expertise by giving them full autonomy from the go. It's impossible to account for different variables by giving your new hire autonomy. Micromanaging at the start by assigning specific tasks allows you to control all variables. It puts you in a prime position to evaluate your new employee's skills and understanding of the role. You can assess whether they understand the task, can do it, and are good at it. The task has to be specific, with key areas that test the credibility of your new hire. This is what makes micromanaging at this phase vital.

It saves you from hiring people who aren't fit for the job. Hiring the wrong person can set your business back with dire consequences. I once did this and had to streamline my hiring process to prevent recurrence. Read Worst Hire - my lessons to see how I went about this issue. 

Training using Micromanagement

Many aspects of a business are robust and mechanical. Everyone works in a particular way following a specific process. I use micromanagement to avoid micromanaging. I prefer showing my new employees the ropes and helping them complete tasks. I do this to help them learn the flow and become productive.    

This helps my employees perform well and sometimes even better. Giving fixed tasks without supervision can lead to frustrations from new employees as they struggle to accomplish them. They may do it to the best of their understanding, to only produce mediocre results. I micromanage at the start to guide them on the right things to focus on. I then give minimal contributions and sometimes none. Helping them through the initiation phase builds enough confidence to take on similar tasks and learn new skills to handle different tasks. Their personal growth and improvement are reflected in their output which directly translates to our team.  

Most remote employees conduct research, pitch ideas, and take initiative on projects that benefit us. They have enough confidence in this because of the targeted micromanagement we use at the start. Implementing targeted micromanagement in this manner has improved the productivity of my team. I only ask for updates, developments, and any queries they may have. This is how I’ve gotten the right people to make up my remote team. We fulfill all our tasks efficiently, and this has enhanced our productivity.  

Autonomy after Micromanagement

Spread your wings and leave the nest. I prefer delegating tasks to my team members after they get past the interview stage. This style ensures that my team members are adequately prepared for their roles and responsibilities. I usually have a good handle on my new team members' decision-making, abilities, and efficiency.

I do not get involved in the project. I have given leadership roles to my employees in specific departments. They work without my oversight, have good morale, and handle their responsibilities on time. Our organization spends less time on tasks and achieves more in the long run. All this can be traced back to targeted micromanagement, and it's why I advocate for it.

Micromanagement Take-Aways

Targeted micromanagement has its benefits. I have used micromanagement to improve employee performance, productivity, and team morale. It has helped me build trust in my team and get things done efficiently. Micromanagement will be detrimental when overused. 

Most micromanagers usually want to maintain control of tasks for various reasons. It is unthinkable for them to trust their team members while being left out of the loop. Fear of failure shouldn't make you need to control aspects of every project. This behavior can impact team output if not properly handled.

An effective leader means giving autonomy so they manage aspects of your business. You have to trust their abilities and provide them with the freedom to handle their responsibilities as expected. I have done this with some of my team members and I intend to have it be the norm with each of my team members. You don't have to do this with every task but you can apply it for most tasks in your business and organization.  

Micromanage with good intentions in mind. Help your new employees develop their skills and improve the situation in your team. Always see the bigger picture and strive to achieve it. 

FAQs on Micromanagement

What are the signs of a micromanager?

The signs of a micromanager are constant monitoring, lack of trust, and excessive control, among others. 

What is behind a micromanager's behavior?

A micromanager may have issues guiding and supporting team members. This may be due to a lack of trust, insecurity, or both. 

How can you tell you're being micromanaged?

You can tell you're being micromanaged when you have problems with workflow. Your manager may require visibility of every task or oversee every task without missing check-ins.  

How do you deal with a micromanager?

You can handle a micromanager by proactively discussing details and making project decisions. You can reduce the lack of trust and respect between you and your manager by working together and proving your autonomy. 

What is the best management technique?

The best management technique involves developing your team's skills and abilities. Do not stifle creativity, damage people's health, or lean on decision-making to an extreme degree. Trust others enough to let them work without close supervision. The need for constant knowledge of everything happening in the project may also contribute to poor workplace culture. Trust your employees and let them showcase their talents. They'll help your organization grow.

What are the signs of micromanagement?

There aren't any clear signs that point to micromanagement. It is a combination of a manager's and an employee's perspective. It can manifest as a manager needing constant updates, preferring excessive supervision, and infiltrating every step of the work and processes. The employee may experience a lack of confidence, spend a significant amount of time on minor details, and have reduced creativity and initiative. These are some of the negative connotations that point to micromanagement. 

How can you deal with micromanagers?

You don't have to deal with one. A change of interactions should help remedy the situation. Set clear expectations with your managers and offer open communication. Managers can give their subordinates enough space to work. The need for control and frequent criticism are detrimental to any progress. The goal is to increase your turnover. A democratic managerial style will help you achieve this goal. 

Is there a good micromanaging style?

There isn't a universally agreed-on micromanaging style. Having good intentions for your team will guide you on the right path. You should be able to trust your employees and implement strategies that help teams. Do not need to control everything or demand direct reports. Anyone who controls the work and closely observes everything limits the team's potential. Keep the team's success as the priority and this won't be a problem. 

Why do people micromanage others?

People micromanage for a variety of reasons. Micromanagers share common characteristics like a lack of trust, a need to have visibility, and a need for control. This isn't the case for all of them. They could be a contributing factor. 

What are the effects of micromanagement?

Micromanagement can have detrimental effects on your team. It can cause dissatisfaction, lack of motivation, and stifle team productivity. It's vital to put team success first. This ensures that the right goals are followed. 

How does micromanagement affect workplace culture?

Micromanagers often influence the work environment negatively. Employees may feel strained by giving detailed reports, and their managers micromanaging every aspect of their work. Micromanagement is a delicate case and needs care to prevent problems in the workplace.