How Micromanaging Can Destroy Your Business and How to Avoid It


Aaron Westbury

Senior Consultant

Micromanaging has a negative connotation. Most business leaders try to avoid micromanaging, but actually giving up power and putting trust in your staff is often easier said than done. To avoid or fix micromanagement within your company, you should shift your focus onto improving workplace structure, training employees and feeling more confident delegating work responsibilities. This review discusses precisely why micromanaging is detrimental to so many issues and how to avoid it. 

What is a micromanager?

A micromanager is a boss or manager that closely observes and controls the actions of employees. It is an elevated level of supervision above what is necessary. Rather than assigning a job duty to an employee and providing them freedom and trust to complete the assignment, a micromanager supervises them throughout the assignment. Several signs micromanagers often display include:

  • Hesitant to delegate assignments
  • Managers employees too closely
  • Monitors every minor detail
  • Requires constant meetings and reports
  • Tells employees exactly how to work

Micromanaging can take place in many forms. For example, a boss requiring all employees to add them as a “cc” on every email could be a sign of micromanaging (albeit a minor one). More severe signs of micromanaging could be to monitor and record everything that an employee does. In any case, micromanaging is rarely a beneficial strategy. 

Why leaders micromanage: debunking the perceived benefits

Understanding the science behind micromanaging is crucial to properly address the behavior. Most micromanagers are well-intentioned. They want to see their business, and as an extension, their employees, succeed. They may believe:

  • Employees benefit from constant supervision
  • Their staff is more productive with constant management
  • The business may suffer if they do not micromanage
  • It is the owner’s job to ensure everyone performs well
  • The only way to grow their business is through micromanaging

Of course, business leaders and managers do have a responsibility to ensure everyone within their company is in a position to succeed at their work. However, what many fail to realize is that micromanaging is counter-intuitive to their goal of growing the business. 

The negative effects of micromanaging on your employees

The negative effects of micromanagement depend on the type and severity of micromanaging being done. Most notably, micromanaging leads to a less productive work environment, increased stress and tension among the staff and potential mental health complications from patients feeling inadequate or mentally or physically fatigued. 

A less productive work environment

As discussed, many employers and business managers believe observing and correcting employees to be the most beneficial way to run a business. However, micromanaging typically leads to a less productive work environment. This is because employees may feel as if their work is not good enough, serving as a self-fulfilling prophecy and thus producing less than desirable results, which, ironically, can lead to the issue of micromanaging becoming even worse. On the other hand, business leaders that do not micromanage often find their work production increases as employees feel empowered, confident and free with the work that they do for the company. 

More stress and tension among your staff

Micromanagement is essentially a way to put pressure on employees to get them to perform in a more effective or efficient manner. Naturally, this places a lot of stress and tension on your staff. It is also important to note that it can take place from a boss, manager or coworker. The added stress and tension can lead to an unhealthy work environment for everyone. This increases the likelihood of a very low employee retention rate and the need for the company to consistently recruit, hire and onboard new employees to the team. Poor employee reviews can also make it more challenging to find qualified talent that wants to work for the company.

Mental health complications

Micromanagement can lead to mental health troubles for many employees. This often stems from feelings of inadequacy, particularly if the micromanager consistently criticizes the work that they do. When employees view work as a bad part of their day, they can quickly start to feel overwhelmed. Therefore, many HR departments and mental health professionals encourage employers to instead empower and encourage their employees for the benefit of the workers’ mental health. 

How Micromanaging affects business owners and managers

The issue with micromanaging is that it does not achieve its intended purpose. Rather than improve workplace efficiency and the quality of work, it actually compromises the health and productivity of the business. This can lead to limited profits for the company, high employee turnover and dissatisfied customers. In addition, micromanaging takes quite a toll on the micromanager as well as it requires them to consistently stress and worry about the performance of employees. By taking a step back and delegating responsibility, owners and managers are able to feel more relaxed and focus their attention on growing the company. 

How to fix micromanaging issues within your company

If you feel you or other leaders within your company may have over-managed your employees to the point their performance or mental health has suffered, then you can take measures to address or prevent further micromanagement. The best way to fix or prevent micromanaging is to have a reliable workplace structure. This means every employee should understand their role within the company and should have objective measures of their performance. When the employees are well-informed of business processes and are equipped with the proper resources to succeed in their role, the business leaders can take a step back from day-to-day workflow and instead work on big picture company dealings. 

Eliminate micromanagement and empower your staff with FlowPatterns

FlowPatterns understands how difficult it can be for business owners and managers to delegate responsibilities and trust their staff to get the work done on time and in an effective manner. We make it easier to empower your employees by providing you with the business management software you need to establish a healthy workplace environment, workflow and an organized business structure. Reach out today to learn more about FlowPatterns and our innovative software. 

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