BLOG micromanagementWorking as a recruitment consultant I meet employees every day with a story to tell of bad management, the resounding and resonating fact that stands out day after day is that bad management, more often than not, equates to micromanagement – and that is one of the main drivers for people to leave an organisation. Therefore, for a strong and stable workforce micromanagement has to be pushed to the side to allow creative solutions to keep  employees accountable.

Unfortunately these complaints are heard in many modern organisations with increasing regularity. Some would even say that micromanagement has hit our workplaces in epidemic proportions!

What is Micromanagement?

Micromanagement takes place when a manager exerts excessive control over the work of a team member. Typically, the micromanager will monitor and assess every step in a work process even after thorough training has taken place. They monitor the day to day work performance of team members too closely, regardless of whether a team member is highly capable or a poor performer. Micromanagement can occur for many reasons including increased pressure for a manager to perform, insecurity in the manager’s role and a lack of management development or training.
A micromanaged team can hurt an organisation in many ways. Micromanagement sends a very strong message to team members that they are not trusted and that that they lack capability. Typically, team members who are micromanaged become frustrated and resentful, and lose confidence in their ability to get a job done. These impacts almost certainly lead to reduced employee productivity as micromanaged employees become increasingly disengaged.

Four Signs of Micromanagement

There is a fine line between a manager who wants to work closely with team members and giving in to micromanagement.

If you demonstrate two or more of the following four characteristics, then there is a good chance that you are on your way to becoming a micromanager.

  • Unable to Delegate
  • Over-Direction
  • Exclusive Decision-Making
  • Communication Avoidance

Typically team members working with a micromanager tend to avoid contact with their manager. That is because they fear that if they approach their manager they may well be inundated with additional direction which they do not need.

If you are on the way to becoming a micromanager the first step to correct this behaviour is personal self-awareness. This might be followed up by seeking feedback on your management style from members of your team, which can in turn lead to development of effective strategies to eliminate micromanagement behaviours. (Gary Martin FAIM is Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Management in Western Australia. The West Australian, January 29, 2015)

Holding employees accountable to their assigned tasks without micromanaging is a classic workplace dilemma that can be difficult to navigate. So, how do we accomplished this? Here are five insights to resolve a classic problem:

  1. Commit to hiring the right people.It’s much easier to create a culture of accountability with accountable people. Utilising a Recruitment Agency from the beginning as a consultancy service can help navigate the process and set in place accountability as a core value central to finding new employees.
  2. Make people accountable to each other. There is nothing like peer pressure to drive behaviour. The goal is to create a productive community culture.
  3. Clearly and frequently articulate expectations. Managers often find themselves micromanaging their staffs when they don’t adequately communicate their expectations. When employees and managers set “Key Performance Indicators” at the beginning of each quarter to re-evaluate goals, progress and successes/failures huge differences can be achieved.
  4. Give employees decision-making power.Your employees are much more likely to “own” their work when they help create or have a voice in what they’re doing.
  5. Give them an ownership stake. If you want employees to work like they own the company, then give them a stake in the game.

Striking the right balance between empowerment and accountability is not easy. But business owners who set the right tone will enjoy the benefits of greater employee initiative and innovation, as well as the freedom to transition from managing to leading.

141008-292Anna Pearson is Recruitment Manager in the Perth Office of Boutique National Recruitment Firm – Harvest Recruitment 


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