business · psychology

My way or the highway – why micromanagement is exhausting?

What is micromanagement?

It’s my way or highway that is commonly used idiom in micromanagement which indicates an authority of either take it or leave it to employee or subordinate who is not able to negotiate or challenge the person in authority. An employee should either do as he is been told or he can be fired, asked to leave or will receive nothing while leaving.

In business management micromanagement is a style where the manager observes and controls every single aspect of the subordinate’s work throughout the day. Though micromanagement can yield good results in smaller teams, if practiced in a bigger group it can be highly destructive, exhausting and can kill employee’s morale completely. That is the primary reason why micromanagement is considered to have a negative impact rather than positive.

How to detect if you are being micromanaged?

  1. If you make a decision, even if it is the subordinate level of authority and your manager is intimidated.
  2. Requesting unnecessary and overly detailed reports from subordinates which is also known as reportomania. (Honestly, I was quite surprised to see there is an actual term for it).
  3. Narcissistic micro-managers micromanage on purpose to either take credit of all the positive work done by the team or shift the blame for all negative results on their subordinates escaping accountability for their actions. They delegate for the sake of accountability rather than to support the authority of decision which could avoid failure or do less damage.
  4.  Authority misuse. (threats for termination, negative recommendation and vice versa)
  5.  Workplace bullying and narcissist behavior
  6. Extreme control on day to day tasks.

What causes micromanagement?

  1. Emotional insecurity of the individual himself which leads to being overly authoritative with his or her subordinates.
  2. The obsessive-compulsive disorder also known as OCD, to do things in a certain way and compel others to do it the same way.
  3. Employee’s competence
  4. Organization culture
  5. Performance pressure
  6. Instability in managerial positions
  7. The personality type of manager
  8. Hypercritical environment
  9. Double binding between the teams.
  10. In rare cases, it’s a tactic to purposefully eliminating the unwanted employees by setting unreachable standards and then later revoking termination on failure to fulfill the unrealistic target given
  11. Constructive dismissal

The below diagram showcases different types of toxic managerial styles.

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Micromanagement Stunts Growth, Erodes Morale and Slows Productivity

What can be done to improve?

Acknowledging the micromanagement itself is the first step for recovering from it.

Less control over the daily actions of subordinates and giving them the freedom to work through their daily challenges and obstacles without coming back to you for pity issues, reporting back issues only once they have been identified, Addressed and resolved.

Once subordinates get the habit of being spoon-fed, chances are they won’t function on their own in the beginning; they need to be pushed to take over the tasks and activities and get them done in the considerate time given for completion.

Lastly, there is no nice way of saying; a micromanager needs to look upon his own control freak pattern to improve the way he reports and demands to report from his subordinates. Build the trust you have lost with your subordinates and give them time to build the same trust element with you as well.

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No alt text provided for this image

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