Pros and Cons of Micromanagement


As an employee, experiencing micromanagement decrease employee morale, within a department.  Unfortunately, I have started to experience micromanagement within my department at work.  Currently, my manager is aiming to know every movement that our team makes so it can be reported back to her manager.

This is frustrating because we are adults.  Furthermore, it’s frustrating because instead of addressing the employees that are not performing up to standards, they choose to penalize all employees.  This is the first time that I have dealt with this form of management since leaving retail. 

I am not a fan of this form of management.  Personally, I feel that this type of management creates an environment of distrust.  It also frustrates employees and leads to good employees seeking employment elsewhere.  However, I do realize that there are some instances where this form of management is beneficial.

So, what exactly is micromanagement?

Often described as a controlling technique, micromanagement occurs when someone tries to control and monitor everything within a situation or team environment.  For a more in-depth analysis, click here to read this article.

Most managers that practice this form of management has the following characteristics (if not all, then a combination):

  • He/she does not delegate tasks to their employees.
  • He/she will take over an assignment or task when they find a mistake.
  • He/she focuses on the little details so much that they miss the big picture.
  • He/she ignores the opinions and experience of others.
  • He/she does not like for decisions to be made without them.

In my opinion, one of the worst characteristics from the ones listed above is ignoring the opinions and experiences of others.  No one wants to be in an environment where they feel that their opinions and expertise are not appreciated or heard.  Additionally, if you hired to perform a particular job, based in your skill set, you expect your employer to let you perform your job.   

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of micromanagement?

For the record, micromanagement can be beneficial in the workplace.  Listed below are the advantages of micromanagement.

Pros of Micromanagement
– Works for smaller teams
– Can help with onboarding new employees
– Provide greater control over operations
– Helps with more complex and custom operational issues

Remember, the primary function of micromanagement is to monitor a team and/or environment constantly. This is the main reason why micromanagement can be beneficial for smaller teams.

Smaller teams that are onboarding new employees can benefit greatly from this method.  This method of management ensures that work is performed right and promptly without too many mistakes.

So, when is micromanagement not beneficial to the workplace?

Cons of Micromanagement
– Can stifle and annoy employees – damage trust
– Managers can lose sight of the big picture – lost in the details
– Can create burnout on both levels
– Employees can become dependent

All the reasons listed above, especially the first one, can eventually lead to an increase in an employer’s turnover rate, in my opinion.  No one wants to work in an environment of distrust that discourages independent work and think.

Now that we know the advantages and disadvantages of micromanagement, what will you do with this information?

As a manager, I suggest your step would be to decide if this form of management is beneficial for your employees.  If you feel micromanagement benefits both you and your employees, than do not make any changes.  However, if you notice that your employees are exhibiting behaviors that mirror the disadvantages listed above, maybe you should consider changing up your management style.   

As a manager, I found that some employees benefitted from this method. This was a problem for me because I preferred to manage oppositely.  I would provide my employees with directions, the end goal.  This allowed them to find the best method (within reason) to complete the task at hand.

Personally, I felt that staying with an employee and monitoring every step of their assigned task would create two outcomes.

  • They would not gain confidence, and it would inhibit them from completing tasks on their own in the future.
  • This would keep me from performing and completing my management duties.

Therefore, my solution was to start rearranging my days.  This allowed me to set up, specific times during the day to check on my employees’ progress on their tasks.  It also allowed me to schedule my tasks accordingly and manage my time better.

But, if you are a manager that is prone to micromanagement, and want to change this, what steps should you take to accomplish this goal?

It is suggested that communication will be the key to making this change. Communicate with your staff and be open and committed to change.  Encourage and give your employees the leeway and encouragement to succeed.  Learn to delegate tasks.  This will remove stress and responsibilities off your desk and enable you to perform more manager related duties

Employees should also be equipped to deal with their manager who is micromanaging them.

Communicate with your manager, let them know that it is ok to delegate tasks and that those tasks will be handled in an efficient and timely manner. This can be accomplished by receiving all instructions upfront and agreeing on timelines that allow for both parties to review the progress on the assigned task.

Also, as an employee, you know your strengths and weaknesses.  Use this to your advantage and volunteer for projects that you know play up to your strengths.  This will create trust, and you know that you will be able to handle the project in an efficient manner.

Have you experienced micromanagement within the workplace?  Did you benefit from it or did it irritate you?  Feel free to share your experiences below.

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