Four Ways to Identify Micromanagement

You’ve brought on a new manager and he seems to fit in well. But after a few months, you begin to hear through the grapevine his employees feel constantly frustrated. When you watch him in a team meeting, you see that he’s taking over the project and not allowing his perfectly competent employees to each do their parts. In addition, a week later you see him revising what one employee has done and redoing it without consulting her first. Looks like you’ve got a micromanager on your hands.

Micromanagers think they’re doing what’s best for the company, but in doing so, they frequently undermine their employees and burn themselves out. Look for these signs so you can address it before it becomes a problem.

  1. They avoid delegation. Rather than using the skills of their team members, micromanagers believe nobody can do the job better than they can. Instead of assigning tasks, they choose to take over, expanding their own workload and building resentment in those around them. This tends to result in good employees either leaving or not choosing to take initiative (because they’ve learned their efforts won’t bear any result or reward), as well as a manager with far too much on his plate. He’s so busy with low-priority activities, he neglects his own. The skill of delegation may not come naturally; it can help to offer some training for a manager to practice and master for the good of everyone involved.
  2. They can’t relinquish control. Like avoiding delegation, they feel they must have a hand in everything, endlessly checking on their employees’ progress through emails. Or they insist that others outside of their department go through the manager first, rather than making direct contact with the employee. Some will also insist on being CC’d on all communications. Doing this shows employees the manager doesn’t trust them to get the job done. Suggest a weekly report on the three Ps: Progress, Plans, and Problems.
  3. They give detailed directions on everything. Micromanagers feel they need to dictate exactly what their employees need to do, giving them lists that break everything down to the point the list takes longer than the actual task. Ironically, doing this only serves to decrease productivity and morale. Make sure your managers take time to reflect on these behaviors, perhaps in a regular one-on-one with a superior, to ensure they don’t engage in minutiae when they could spend their time more productively.
  4. They frown on employees taking initiative. Again, this behavior flies in the face of what they’re trying to accomplish. Most managers want employees who can work independently without someone looking over their shoulders; it helps increase productivity when a manager trusts her employees to do their jobs. Micromanagers will feel an employee has gone over their head when he makes a decision without consulting the manager first, even when it’s something he has expertise in. Encourage managers to give employees autonomy; after all, they were hired to do a certain job. Let them do it.

Turning micromanagers into leaders will benefit both the managers and the employees, creating a smoother workflow overall. For help finding your next manager or employee, connect with the CA staffing experts at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks Ventura County.