The more detail-oriented kind of small business owner might not entirely understand why micromanaging is almost always treated as a bad habit that needs to be quashed. Understanding your team’s work, being able to help them improve, and investing real care into the details of how your products and services are delivered are all good things, right? If only it were that simple. Here, we’re going to look at five key reasons why micromanaging can actually lead to the stagnation of your business.
Let’s define micromanaging before we break it down, however. By micromanaging, we’re referring to a style of management through which the employer/supervisor/manager takes it upon themselves to closely monitor the work processes of their employees and team. Correct mistakes, ensuring the correct standards, and effectively dictating the terms of how they work. While some people see it as little more than paying close attention to the details of their team’s work, others would argue that destroys not only the team and company culture, but is bad for business.
Micromanaging breaks trust between the team and the manager (or small business owner). Rather that seeing you as a leader, they are more likely to see you as little more than a dictator with whom they have to check with or rely on to carry out even the smallest of tasks. This inability to go under their own steam also means they become a lot less engaged with their work, since they don’t have to put much thought into it, you’re going that for them.
Furthermore, micromanagement renders communication and collaboration with other team members pointless, since it’s the micromanager who has final say. This kind of work environment is going to be miserable for just about everyone involved in it. Employees crave the freedom to innovate, to manage their own work and, yes, even to make mistakes, which helps them grow as members of the team.
In the worst-case scenarios, micromanagers will take the time to check over every single process that their team members work on. This means that in order to hit a work objective and move onto the next one, the employee has to check with the micromanager. In a team of multiple people, this means the micromanager becomes a bottleneck which slows the productivity of the entire team down.
When one person is responsible for overseeing, correcting, and verifying all the work in the office, then it’s only natural that it’s going slow down the individual productivity of each team member, and the overall productivity of the team as a whole, down to a crawl. Low productivity is an easy way to guarantee little growth.
People do not like working in environments where they do not feel trusted, engaged, or in any way a meaningful member of a team. Micromanagers break that trust, give people little reason to be engaged and make their workers feel like they have to be constantly supervised. As a result, it should be no surprise the employees of micromanagers are very likely to look elsewhere for a job.
Not only does this mean that you could be giving up entirely good employees that you should be striving to keep, but it means that your time, money, and attention is going to be focused on the recruitment process far more often than it should be. High employee churn rates are considered one of the surest signs of a company in crisis and, in time, you might find it hard to hire or retain anyone.
Micromanaging puts a lot more work and stress on everyone’s plate. The micromanager is going to be consistently looking over their employee’s shoulders, correcting mistakes, and demanding changes from the employee. Your employees, on the other hand, are going to be completing their objectives but, before they can move on, look to you for input and validation of their efforts.
This kind of relationship stresses everyone and makes them work harder than they have to on just about every objective that they face. As such, it’s much more likely to lead them to burnout, which not only demolishes their engagement and motivation, but can become a legitimate risk to their physical and emotional health.
As a leader, small business owners and managers have a much greater potential than simply controlling the standards of how their team works. They should be setting the direction of the company, but they shouldn’t fuss over every little detail of how it’s supposed to reach its destination. Whenever they develop a micromanaging habit, they tend to focus so much on the trees that they can’t see the forest around them.
Simply put, micromanagement adds a lot of busywork to your daily schedule. It hampers your own productivity because you spend so much of your time worried about others’ responsibilities that you can easily fail to take care of your own. There are so many efforts that could potentially be a much better use of your time. Strategizing on new lead generation methods, getting in contact with potential clients, seeking feedback on your products and services, and looking at potential roads for new revenue and growth. If you’re focused entirely on what your team is doing, then you will fail to get much of your own work done, as well.
Make no mistake, micromanaging can destroy a small business easily. No-one is able to put their best effort in, no-one will enjoy their job, and it makes it much harder to focus your energies in a more constructive direction. It’s important to understand the details of your team’s work, and to be able to offer them feedback but, if you want to avoid stagnation and see growth, you have to let them handle their own responsibilities.