As a business owner or leader, it’s natural to want the very best for the company, and part of that often involves making sure your employees are doing the best job they possibly can. However, there’s a fine line between supporting and encouraging your employees and micromanaging them. Micromanagement is a term that holds negative connotations, referring to a management style characterised by extremely close supervision and control over small details of an employee’s duties. Many business owners and leaders aren’t even aware that they, or those managing on their behalf, are guilty of micromanaging. However, this leadership style can negatively affect your employees (and thus your business as a whole).
1. Low Morale
Being micromanaged can quickly cause employees to feel a loss of autonomy. This can consequently lead to employees no longer wanting to go the extra mile for the company, as they are no longer able to take pride in the tasks they complete and the outcomes they achieve. Micromanagement is the killer of morale in the workplace. Whether intentional or not, those guilty of micromanagement disregard the knowledge and experience that employees have acquired over their careers, discouraging them from further career-related growth.
2. Decreased Productivity
Constant surveillance makes peak productivity difficult to achieve. Micromanagers cause excessive interruptions for employees by asking lots of questions and making unnecessary adjustments to ways of working. Employees are forced to slow down and delay their work to allow for continuous feedback and changes to their processes. Furthermore, micromanagement can lead to employees second-guessing their knowledge and capabilities, with the result being greater dependence on managers for guidance in the long-term. Yet, for a business to run smoothly and effectively, employees need to be capable of completing their duties independently.
3. Poor Mental Health
Job satisfaction plays a huge role in good mental health. If employees feel undervalued at work due to micromanagement, then their mental well-being will inevitably be impacted on time. When an employee suffers from poor mental health, it is not only the individual who is negatively impacted, but also the atmosphere of the business and, eventually, the business’ profits. This may sound extreme, but according to Benenden Health, mental health absences are estimated to cost businesses approximately 40 million individuals days of work, with employees absent for two to five days on average.
4. Increased Staff Turnover
As employees feel drained by ongoing and persistent monitoring, micromanagement can drive people away from a company altogether. It is natural for people to want to work at a business where they feel valued and appreciated. As employees leave, the momentum of the company has the potential to drop further due to having to train new staff members and re-train existing employees for different roles. The effort, time, and resources that go into the hiring and training process can easily harm the business’s bottom line.
5. Reduced Innovation
Engagement drives innovation. If employees are feeling disengaged and disempowered due to ongoing micromanagement, then they will feel less accountable for the company’s results. Micromanagement leaves little to no space for employees to critique themselves and push for self-improvement as it diminishes employee’s capacity to innovate. The most successful businesses, like Amazon, thrive off of several ideas and opinions helping to refine the very best. An idea can’t truly be the best if there is no competition.
6. Lack Of Teamwork
When a workplace is micromanaged, teamwork often depletes as employees come to trust only the judgement and opinions of their manager. As teamwork promotes better communication, greater creativity and organisation, and general contentment within an organisation, a lack of it can seriously damage your business over time. Through micromanagement, the company misses out on the numerous benefits of having a highly capable team that can come together to quickly and effectively resolve problems as and when they arise. Instead, all problems will end up making their way back to the micromanager.
Every manager wants to see the best results for their business, it’s what got you to the top in the first place. However, recognising when it’s time to take a step to one side is important, not only for your employees’ mental health and job satisfaction, but also for the growth of the business and your own well-being.