The Sunday Mail
Women & Leadership
IF there is one thing that is a buzz killer and an energy and motivation sapper for subordinates it is micromanagement by superiors. If you are one of the bosses who micromanage, do I have news for you!
Micromanagement leads to high levels of stress, low morale, loss of productivity and dread in the office, among other negative repercussions.
In fact, micromanaging bosses are every employee’s worst nightmare. A micromanaging boss kills efficiency.
To be fair, though, no manager wishes to micromanage staff. The challenge, according to entrepreneur Aaron Haynes, is that: the line between an efficient manager and a micro-manager is sometimes blurred, and it is very easy to cross it, without being aware that one is now on a slippery slope to becoming a dysfunctional boss.
What are the signs that you are a micromanaging boss?
According to Haynes, here are some characteristics that show that you are in fact predisposed to micromanagement.
The thought of losing
control scares you
Because of your need to control, you are obsessed with knowing what staff are doing. And, everything must be done your way or you are not satisfied. Therefore, you often call back work you assign, because it is not up to your standards. On top of that, you dish out instructions, but make it impossible for your team to input their own ideas. As a result, you stifle their creativity, communication and self-development, while leaving no option for effective productivity. Holding on tightly to control out of fear will eventually cause you to lose it in the end.
You believe you have the best approach to every task
Believing you know best, you view your employees’ work as inferior. Therefore, your actions scream that their work is substandard, a strong sign that you are micromanaging. You do not give them the opportunity to use their skills, talents and know-how. Instead, you implement all the ideas, take control of communicating with clients and make decisions based on your knowledge. Believing you have all the answers for resolving tasks, you work on them solo. This attitude pushes employees aside causing them to doubt their own capabilities.
You itch to lead
Leading is not a bad thing. On the other hand, a forceful boss who is unwilling to negotiate, always interfering and unable to offer flexibility, is a poor leader. Continual interference is a sign you lack confidence in your employees. Nevertheless, there are times when it is necessary to lead, especially in large financial transactions, vital decision-making or other important business areas requiring managerial authority. However, if you are always in the driver’s seat and find it difficult to allow employees to manage everyday tasks, this creates uncertainty and resentment. As an alternative, train staff, build trust and support them.
You suspect everybody (but you) wastes time and resources
One of the most annoying traits of a micro-manager is their suspicion. Because you suspect everyone is either wasting time or company resources, you are always prying. You command a detailed record of phone calls, meetings, spending, tasks or anything else you think could be wasted. This obsession brings stress on everyone.
Constantly judging and prying will eventually create lack of faith in you and drive employees out of the company.
You call for endless, unnecessary meetings
Micro-managers use any excuse to call for a meeting. Usually, these meetings are nothing to do with work productivity. They are a pretext for finding irrelevant faults. Or you attend meetings to get your points across in discussions that do not require your presence.
Another sign is insisting all employees attend meetings, whether the topic is relevant to them or not.
You have challenges delegating
Everyone has the same amount of time during the day. However, your time seems less than others. Could this be because you do not know how to delegate? Each day you are overloaded with trivial tasks and projects that rarely get completed. Lack of delegation and communication with your employees forces you to micromanage rather than distribute responsibilities. Instead of retracting delegated tasks, allow employees to handle jobs within their capability. Practice developing your delegation skills to reduce your workload and give employees a sense of ownership.
You try to run a one-man show
Perhaps you have the attitude that micromanagement means taking on everything by yourself. Consequently, you lack faith in your employees’ abilities and bear the brunt of the workload. You are busy fretting about their productivity and criticising their work, leaving you little time to manage properly. Rather than working with them to develop a competent team, you set them up to depend on you. This leads to increased workload and bigger pressures on you, amplifying the danger of impending burnout.
Finally, perhaps you have good intentions at heart but still cross the line over into becoming a micro-manager. If you identified with any of the earlier danger signs, you are now in a better position to improve your management skills. One way to improve working relationships is to get regular feedback from staff. Transform yourself from being a dreaded micro-manager to becoming a valued, respected leader.
(Above content has been largely, but not wholly, sourced from the work of Aaron Haynes.)
◆ Maggie Mzumara is a leadership, communication and media strategist as well as corporate trainer, who offers group trainings as well as one on one coaching in various areas of expertise. She advocates women leadership and is founder of Success in Stilettos (SiS) Seminar Series, a leadership development platform for women. Contact her on [email protected] or follow on Twitter @magsmzumara