You’ve heard it a million times: managers who are too involved in the work of their team members are described as micromanagers. Chock-full of negative connotation, this description usually describes a manager who needs to learn to trust employees, to let go of the reins and allow them to do their work.
But it’s not all bad. As with all types of leadership, there are both pros and cons of this particular management style. These are some of the pros and cons of this style.
A manager who keeps a close eye on employees usually does this with the best of intentions. They want to ensure work is done correctly and won’t result in their company needing legal assistance following missed deadlines and breaches in contract.
New staff members especially need to be micromanaged. These new staff members are likely inexperienced or don’t know the unique systems of the workplace. But it is the manager’s responsibility to get them up to speed quickly. Eventually they have to be let go and allowed to work on their own.
Micromanaging is a question of timing. A manager needs to know when it is appropriate to delegate and whether employees are up to the task of handling the responsibility.
It is generally agreed that these managers get too involved in the work of their team. They closely oversee work, offer feedback and criticise continuously throughout the task. Micromanagers watch for errors or inadequacy while feeling they would complete the work more effectively than others. They struggle to delegate and don't know when to let go.
This can be annoying for workers and can cause them to become demotivated. With their confidence lowered, workers will stop giving their best as they feel their work will never be up to standard. This can be problematic for efficiency in production.
Even more worrying, micromanagers are not performing their roles as managers effectively as they are too involved in work which shouldn’t require their contribution. A manager should be involved in planning strategies for the company, coaching employees and contributing to the growth of the business. Watching others’ every move distracts from these more important tasks.
If left unchecked, micromanagement can lead to low levels of production and high resignation numbers.
The key is knowing when and how it is appropriate to micromanage.