Micromanagement is a set of certain behaviors of a manager/supervisor that intervene and control the staff and tasks in detail; mainly due to the lack of confidence and trust. Micromanagement is a style of management where the manager excessively controls the detailed task and mostly dissatisfied with different ways of accomplishing a task than their own. This management style discourages employees’ morale and contribution.
Behaviors of Micromanagement
1. Excessive Control
Micromanagers usually develop the fear of losing control, especially when their team perform their task independently or capabilities. They usually predict outcomes/outputs to be ended up below their expectations if not closely controlled.
2. Lack of Trust and baseless suspicion
Micromanagers do not trust their subordinates or have low confidence in the capability of their team. As a result of their paranoid character, they develop suspicions staff may either waste time or company resources.
3. Kills alternative initiatives and approaches
Micromanagers find alternative initiatives and approaches from their subordinates to be substandard and inferior. Such managers think no initiative or approach is better than their ways. They kill ideas, talents, skills, and know-how.
4. Manipulative and ridged management
Forceful leadership compliments by continuous interference, inflexibility, and unwilling to negotiate are characters of a micromanager.
5. Fail to delegate
This is a behavior of expecting/forcing employees to request confirmation/approval for any task or duty assigned on. Micromanagers usually fail to delegate tasks and cascaded targets to achieve the collective output expected from their unit. They engage with tasks below their level and compromise their important responsibilities.
6. Excessive dictation and checking work progress
Due to lack of confidence and distrust of their subordinates’ skill and engagements, micromanagers try to instruct workers how to perform their task in every steps and frequently check the work progress.
7. One-man show (kills teamwork)
Micromanagers happen to be the key resources of every task where employees ask them every question and they have all the answers for every question. They enjoy their indispensability and micromanaging roles. They redo the work of the team and struggle to meet deadlines.
Observer (i.e. Hawthorne) effect is the behavioral outcomes in terms of the productivity of workers’ response to the condition of being observed. According to the study in clothing manufacturing in India, people working on simple tasks have shown improved results when monitored while people working on complex tasks have shown decreased productivity. In this context, micromanagement can be more effective to increase the productivity of people working on a simple task.
What can managers do to regularly interact and supervise people in ways that increase motivation and build trust?
No manager wants to be labeled as a “Micromanager”. Understanding the intent of management behaviors of the micromanager and competent manager is confusing which slips managers into dysfunctional management without being aware (Haynes, 2017). In order to increase motivation and build trust, managers should follow the following in their interaction and supervision of employees.
1. Create a sense of ownership among the employees.
2. Clearly communicate the business mission and explain the irreplaceable role of each employee played in achieving it.
3. Train staff, build trust, and support them.
4. Keep confidence in their efforts and give a chance.
5. Delegate tasks and give chance to the employee to exercise their uniqueness. Avoid retracting delegated tasks
6. Encourage staff to do their job with their capabilities and assist as needed rather than taking over their job.
7. Closely work with the employee to develop a competent team. Set the employee to depend on you. Work as a team and celebrate achievements as a team.
8. Be open and ready to learn from your team.
9. Avoid fearful and forceful management. Drive motivation through recognition.
Haynes, Aaron. “7 Warning Signs You're the Dreaded Micromanager.” Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur, 8 Mar. 2017, www.entrepreneur.com/article/289699.
Kagan, Julia. “Micromanager.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 29 Aug. 2020, www.investopedia.com/terms/m/micro-manager.asp.
Motion 71. Hawthorne Effect. YouTube, 5 May 2017, youtu.be/FN8R13aVHsw.