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BE-14-March-2

Why micromanaging doesn’t pay

Taking control over every aspect of your employees’ work can backfire. Here’s why…

As the head of a small business or a manager within a larger one, you will want to know what’s happening. It’s only natural to be curious and want to have control. But taking too much on yourself and not being able to delegate successfully, can harm your business and yourself.

BE 14 March

Micromanaging – being involved and controlling every aspect of your employees’ working lives – can have many negative consequences…

Stifles creativity
If your staff always have to work the way you want them to, they won’t develop their own – possibly better – ways of doing things. And if they have to run everything by you, it can stop the flow of their routine and break trains of thought.

You’ll end up with staff who simply do the job but don’t grow or progress. Without staff growth, there is no business growth.

Scare off remote workers
As remote working becomes ever more common, it opens up the supply of potential employees to small businesses. No longer hemmed in by proximity to the head office, HR can bring in the best people no matter where they work in the country.

But if you insist on micromanaging then you can pretty much say goodbye to remote workers. Remote workers need to be trusted to get on with the job alone. If you can’t let them get on with the job, you may lose them.

This is bad because remote workers:
• are more productive
• can be employed anywhere
• are cheaper to employee than office-based workers

Too much focus on the process
Micromanagers can become too focussed on the process – how things are done and by whom – when instead they should be worrying about the results.

It shouldn’t matter if someone has an unconventional way of working, takes long unscheduled breaks or comes in later, as long as they deliver the end product.

Disenfranchised workers
One of the effects of micromanaging employees is that they start to become unhappy in the workplace and may well think about moving on.

Retaining good employees is hugely important in a small business as hiring new people can be disruptive and costly.

Adds to your workload
By spending all your time managing other people you’ll have less time to get on with your own projects and work. This means you’ll be always busy.

If you’ve instilled an office ethos whereby things can only get done if they’re run past you, then you’ll end up with lots of workers waiting around as you rush to clear your own workload.

When to use it
Micromanaging can be a useful tool in certain situations. These include new arrivals. It can be good to be hands on to show them the ropes and basics of how things are done. The trick is knowing when to step back and let them run that’s the issue.

Likewise for someone you feel is underperforming – stepping in to see how they manage their workload could help you spot where they’re going wrong.