Micromanagement refers to the excessive nit-picking and control over a project’s details. Leaders are accused of this issue when they hand over a project to a professional or a team but continue to check in too often or hold up a magnifying glass to every part of the project.

Every manager needs to keep projects on track and check in once in a while. However, being too involved can hurt company culture, morale and even performance.

The Disadvantages of Micromanagement

The dangers of micromanagement include:

  • Less learning: When a manager over-checks on work and tries to get involved in every detail, team members don’t get a chance to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Creativity drops: Creative work relies on trying new, big ideas, which may have messy first iterations or prototypes. When managers judge work by this type of exploratory phase, professionals are less willing to take risks, which reduces creativity in the workplace.
  • Poor leadership: Leaders cannot grow within the company if their work is continuously being scrutinized and if they are not given the reins to grow.
  • Problem communication: Micromanagement often leads to overcommunication and excessive focus on detail — which can mean important deadlines and elements of a project fall through the cracks.
  • Deteriorating relationships: Employees (justifiably) dislike micromanagement, so leaders who exhibit this trait may face resentment and worsening relationships among team members. In the worst scenarios, it can lead to departures and high turnover.
  • Worse morale and culture: Employees who are routinely told what they’re doing wrong and are being checked on may not feel trusted or may feel as though they are performing poorly. This makes it difficult for employees to feel confident, and it reduces trust and control in the workplace. Over time, poor morale can lead to company-wide cultural issues and even gossip and infighting.

Why Do People Micromanage?

Managers may get excessively involved with projects for a number of reasons:

  • Poor soft skills: Inadequate communication and people skills can make it harder for leaders to trust employees enough to allow them to do their work.
  • Poor leadership: Part of good leadership is putting the right people in the right seats and then trusting them to do the work, according to the processes and policies in place. Someone with poor leadership skills may not know how to set up a workplace for success or how to assign projects correctly.
  • Fear: Some leaders fear what could go wrong if they’re not watching every part of a project. Some may also not understand how a project or creative process works, and this can create anxiety and fear.
  • Unclear culture, roles and duties: Companies with a supportive culture that allows for independence and for risk-taking give workers permission to work on their own terms. Clearly defined duties and roles can also emphasize to leaders how much management is desirable.
  • Poor hiring practices: When the wrong people are on teams or in management, micromanagement is more likely to occur.

Stopping Micromanagement Issues

Hiring smart can help ensure your organization has professionals with the right skills, leadership ability and soft skills to avoid micromanagement. When you’re ready to hire someone who has excellent skills and is the right culture fit, contact us at Reaction Search International.