COVID-19 has still gripped the world. It is still pushing business leaders to think deeply and creatively about how they can overcome the challenges and make companies recession-proof.
In spite of the challenges, it is quite possible that as a business leader, you have operational and financial goals that you would like the company to achieve this year at different intervals. Whether they are new or forwarded from the previous years, you are armed to achieve them. While working towards them, you may find yourself micromanaging (or wanting to) to recover what was lost or could not be done totally or sufficiently last year. Although micromanagement is necessary in some cases and has some perks, too much of it may lead to poor performance.
To help, the article will shed light on why as a business executive you may find yourself micromanaging, how it can negatively affect organizational performance and some solutions for each.
Common causes of micromanagement
When it comes to micromanagement, you may either be pushed to or feel the need to do it due to some reasons listed below.
1. Lack of trust in your team –Trust is earned over time. If some individuals have disappointed you or derailed performance in the past, you may find yourself constantly seeking updates for projects and panicking at their slight instances of silence. The mistrust may be justified, but its perpetuation will only hurt your company. Seek its cause and tackle it.
2. Having employees who cannot work without supervision- if you find yourself constantly being pushed to watch your team to ensure projects are handled in the right way and deadlines met, whether everyone or a few, it may be a sign that they cannot work independently. This may be employees who have questionable behaviour, insufficient training about duties, or insufficient information about the company. Such employees cannot easily adapt to changes and you may be forced to set aside some essential duties to attend to them.
Bearing in mind that organizational excellence is the result of the composition of your team, hire people who are not only right for the jobs but also the company. A renowned HR agency can help you to replace the candidates by recruiting or training them to instil the skills necessary for excellence.
3. Unskilled/ poorly trained employees – unskilled or poorly trained workers are tough to manage. They can either do the wrong thing at a specific time or in the wrong manner, which translates to delays and poor performance. The solution is offering the appropriate training.
4. Poor choice of management style – when it comes to management styles, you are spoilt for choice. However, if micromanagement is your go-to, for whatever reason, you may want to reconsider. Training in leadership and management would come in handy in choosing an appropriate approach that can create the working environment.
5. Unclear responsibilities – if job responsibilities are unclear, as a leader of human capital, you may constantly find yourself dealing with myriad challenges such as poor performance or delays. Ensure that all responsibilities are outlined, discussed, documented, and understood.
6. Poor communication– as it has been said for ages, effective communication is essential for proper management and organizational excellence. Effective communication could be the answer to problems like prioritization. It paves the way for exceptional performance when employees can voice their opinions, seek help, or report challenges in their infancy. Such reports will enable you to make decisions that can only ensure forward movement of the company.
7. Fear – fear is a powerful emotion that knows no bounds in terms of individual attacked or effects. Regardless of the cause, it can stop you on your tracks or make you micromanage. If you are driven by fear, you may have the urge to control everything that your staff members do and think the worst in everything. And if you doubt your team despite training them, you are disguisedly doubting yourself. Other times, you may challenge their working approach or way of thinking to ensure they only do as you command. This can affect relationship with employees or your decision-making capabilities.
In addition, being overly attached to the position and attaching your sense of worth to the job can lead to unconscious micromanagement. Here, the need for validation overrides organizational excellence.
Your personal and professional lives are tightly interlinked and almost inseparable. This implies that if some personal issues have made you fearful and paranoid, they can manifest in your professional life. Career and development programs can help you identify the cause of fear and deal with it.
8. Belief that no one is capable– As a business leader, there is no doubt that you are more knowledgeable than your team. But this has also been a cause of micromanagement and collapse of many organizations. People who give way to such thoughts diminish efforts made by the very people they have recruited to help achieve some goals, ruin relationships, and cause a decline in performance.
Power corrupts sometimes. You should not entertain thoughts that no one can handle the tasks allocated to them. Instead, let your team learn from you. You may be surprised by how much they can deliver if given the opportunity to learn and use their knowledge.
How micromanagement affects performance
1. Loss of confidence– You hired the people in your team because they could handle certain duties better than anyone. However, if they are micromanaged, they may believe that they are unsuitable for the jobs. They may become doubtful of their capabilities. Such kind of thinking limits potential and makes it even hard to tackle simple tasks. Eventually, they spend so much time second-guessing and fail to beat deadlines. Micromanagement also instils fear that in the end affects concentration on tasks allocated.
Offer proper training and induction into the company, give your team space to dispense their knowledge while guiding not micromanaging, and express your confidence in them.
2. Dependence– the world today needs independent thinkers. That is, people who are bold enough to challenge routines and think outside the box to find the quickest, smartest, and most efficient way of accomplishing some goals. Micromanagement however, stresses the fact that people should not operate without a certain person’s input. The more they are micromanaged, the more they believe that they cannot and should not make decisions, no matter how crucial some situations are. It casts light on their inadequacy, incompetency, and unsuitability in making decisions and emphasizes on their need for taking the back seat. Micromanagement also makes candidates indecisive and only act after approval from their leaders, even for obvious cases. Eventually, it causes delays, shuts out many ideas that could be suitable for the growth of the company, and manifests as low performance.
Your team should come to you whenever they need help. Nonetheless, you should be keen to identify the difference between their seeking guidance versus approval because of a diminishing management style.
3.No creativity, no innovation– Innovation comes in when people have the space and chance to think outside the box and put the ideas to test. In instances where employees’ moves are excessively monitored and judged, and their uniqueness and skillfulness shut out, they may discount ideas that would otherwise be game-changers. Other times, employees may adopt a similar way of thinking meaning that if challenged, they may lack solutions and put the company in a tough spot.
Remember that organizational excellence is the result of collective effort. For a company to meet its goals, it must handle ordinary situations in extraordinary ways. This can only come when all team members are allowed to voice their opinions to challenge some suggestions or refine approaches.
4.Decreased motivation and high turnovers – nobody likes being micromanaged. It is a direct show of incompetence. Micromanagement also implies that there is no space for growth. Also, employees can lose confidence in the manager or the company. So it doesn’t come as a wonder that those who are micromanaged feel demotivated and seek opportunities elsewhere. This disrupts the smooth flow of operations and leads to massive reputational and financial losses.
5.Sour relationships– micromanagement can cause stress. As a result, relationships between employees and with their seniors may be greatly affected, which translates to strain in projects that require teamwork.
6. Stress and delays– More often than not, micromanagement perpetuates its cause. It may start as a way of ensuring things are done in a certain way and goals are achieved but can quickly turn into the reason why they aren’t being achieved. If you make your team believe they cannot operate without your directives even in simple tasks, after a while, that will be the case. Eventually, you will be overwhelmed by responsibilities of having to attend to each person, which is the genesis of stress, burnout, struggle to make crucial decisions, and delayed operations.
As a business leader, are you being cautious or micromanaging? Your management style makes all the difference between a company achieving its goals and pushing them to another month or year.