Micro Managing Is Killing Your Company Culture
We can probably all think of someone in our workplace (or even our personal lives) that likes to micro-manage.
They struggle to relinquish control, step back and allow others to take ownership of tasks.
Sometimes it’s the need to control whatever’s within their control and sometimes it’s the lack of trust that another person can do the same task as well as they can.
They can’t let go and even when it increases their own workload and pressures, they simply can’t stop themselves from meddling.
They prefer to critique and criticise, rather than delegate and trust others.
We often see micro-managing within organisations and it’s usually reached its peak around the same time that a leader approaches us asking for support in prioritising their workload.
They desperately need to become more effective and efficient with their time and they just can’t see the wood for the trees.
They’re overwhelmed, overworked, often frustrated with their team’s lack of motivation and feeling unsupported by others, as their teams look to them for constant reassurance and approval.
Many business owners & leaders believe that micro-managing, excessive control & (un)necessary meddling can guarantee business results.
What they fail to see is that it’s actually a fear-based method of keeping safe and a method that’s designed to minimise their own exposure to risk, failure and disappointment.
It’s very rarely conscious and as a result micro-managers often don’t see the impact their actions have on others.
So why is micro-managing so detrimental?
- Stifles creativity and innovationWhen your employees feel constantly watched, monitored and controlled, their ability to think outside the box diminishes and instead, a culture of fear is established. Innovation thrives in environments that encourage autonomy, trust and the freedom to explore new ideas. Micro-managing quite literally smothers and prevents this creative outlet.
- Kills employee motivation & morale
How do you feel when someone tells you what to do or second guesses you? Do you feel motivated and inspired when someone is watching over your shoulder or do you feel suffocated? No one likes to feel they’re constantly being watched, challenged, or grilled for every action they may take. Micro-managing creates an atmosphere of mistrust, that erodes employee engagement and kills motivation. To get the best out of people, they need to feel motivated and empowered in their work and this simply can’t happen in an environment where their every move is being monitored.
- Prevents Employee Development
Micro-managing creates a dependency on managers rather than fostering growth and unlocking potential. Employees need space to learn and grow, and typically our greatest lessons come from learning from mistakes that have been made. Attempting to prevent mistakes, prevents your people from developing their own problem-solving skills and their ability to think for themselves.
- Creates A Culture Of Fear
This one’s a biggie and probably the most detrimental to your business. When employees are monitored excessively, criticized or controlled, they become afraid of taking risks or facing challenges. A culture of fear prevents employees from stepping up and taking ownership of their work. This fear-based environment dampens enthusiasm and innovation and increases the likelihood that your people will look for employment elsewhere
Micro-managers rarely operate with ill-intent and it’s important to understand that for the most part, their managing style isn’t personal.
On the contrary, for the majority of the time, their methods are linked to their own set of high standards and their desire to deliver outstanding results for the business.
If you recognise yourself in any of the above and you think you might be micro-managing, here’s a couple of things you can do straight away to begin making changes:
- Encourage open communication
Whilst it may not be your usual style, encourage your employees to voice their concerns, ideas and suggestions and before responding to any of the concerns or ideas raised, take some time to process them first. Share them with a trusted colleague and discuss them to get different perspectives before offering feedback to your teams. As well as creating an environment where your teams will be able to work more effectively and collaboratively together, this approach enables you to build and maintain rapport with your people, which builds trust.
- Delegate responsibilities
Trusting your teams with important tasks, not only empowers them but also facilitates their professional development and growth. Deliver clear guidelines, expectations and deliverables and then step back and allow them to take the lead. When leaders do this effectively, they’re often surprised by just how much their people can deliver and the quality of the results.
- Focus on results, not process.
As a leader, you don’t have time to focus on the minutiae and one of the most effective ways to change your perspective is to focus on results. Set clear goals and parameters and allow your teams the space to determine the best route to achieve the desired results. Whilst they may approach things differently, this gives them the freedom to use their own unique skillset and ‘different’ doesn’t mean ‘wrong’. Their unique approach may actually deliver results quicker and more effectively, but it’ll take trust on your part to let them take the lead and find out.
We understand that stepping back when you’re used to being in control can be challenging and we appreciate that changing behaviour isn’t easy.
That’s why we developed our powerful leadership programme, so that you can start to identify areas where there’s room for improvement and take full responsibility for changing things, with the full support of your facilitator and course peers.
Our leadership masterclass programme can support you to move from micro-managing into more effective leadership, so you can deliver results for your business more efficiently and develop stronger relationships with your teams at the same time.
It’s often more comfortable to stay where we are and do things the same way we’ve always done them, but if you can have the courage to recognise where you could improve and take a proactive approach to changing your leadership style, it will pay dividends for you, your teams and your organisation as a whole.