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How micromanagement is killing your business

HUSTLE
By Eve Masongo | February 17th 2021

If you are a line manager, CEO, entrepreneur or owner of a small business, you probably think being a part of every little task in your company is a good idea. Well, think again. You could slowly be suffocating your business’s performance unknowingly. Here are ways that micromanagement will eventually kill your company.

Them vs Us culture – A team being micromanaged does not bond because of the success of the company. They will likely team up against the boss because they share a common ‘enemy’.  And that is misplaced energy that should instead, be channeled towards working on the company vision. Hire people you can trust to get their job done effectively. If they can’t, it may be time to fire and hire new people.

High turnover – Micromanage your people and your business will be akin to a revolving door due to employee turnover. Building team spirit requires staff to acquaint themselves with each other. However, they won’t make any effort to bond as, when people are constantly leaving, it is emotionally draining to those left.

Kills morale – Micromanagement destroys morale. You do not want staff who doubt their ability to carry out their duties. But this is the case in organisations where micromanagement occurs. If the smallest of decisions have to be okayed by a manager, it undermines your employees and, eventually, their performance will start suffering. If unchecked, it will destroy the team.

Frustration is borne – Micromanaged employees are usually frustrated because they do not have autonomy. They think you do not trust them to carry out the duties assigned – you are advertising that they can’t do the job without you. This will prompt them to scale back their efforts and when pushed to the wall, they will start looking for work in organisations that will value their ideas and skills.

Weakened teams – a good manager is a valued and indispensable staff. However, what happens when the manager is taken ill, transferred or goes on holiday? The other team members won’t be competent at their jobs because the person who has been keeping the department afloat is no longer there. The department’s performance will suffer because only person was doing the grunt work.

Training employees – Due to the high turnover, your human resources department will be constantly engaged in the tedious process of training new employees. They are likely not going to put effort in the training of new hires, who also become fast disenchanted by the negative atmosphere. Therefore, you might end up with, instead of the cream of the crop hires, unqualified employees who won’t put in the effort to better themselves due your organisation’s reputation.

Fostering inaction – A micromanager tends to seek the opinion (and ask for updates) of employees who at times don’t have the capacity to give it. This fosters an environment of inaction as everyone (even those unqualified) will be involved in every project. There are those who won’t make head or tail of the project and they won’t know how to advance.  By pulling employees out of their functions, even with more hands on deck, you are stopping the whole organisation from advancing.

Opportunity costs – When a manager concentrates on their subordinates’’ lower level jobs, their functions, higher level jobs, are not tended to. By micromanaging his subordinates, the manager is forgoing opportunities that could have profited your organization more. This means that the manager is taking time away from doing more important and valuable work that they are responsible for.

Burn out – A micromanager is always actively participating in the workload of every employee in their team. Your company will suffer because the pressure that comes with this task often becomes too much as the manager burns out and eventually leaves.

WHAT YOU CAN DO INSTEAD…

Micromanagers believe, or have been taught, that the only way to succeed is hold on tightly to the reigns. But good leadership requires one to let go of control and run engaged, highly productive and motivated teams. Therefore:

Do not stifle your employees – Acquainting yourself with your employees is a good culture. But you only need to know their names and job functions, and trust that they are qualified and capable of carrying out their duties.  If you’ve hired a social media manager, don’t hang off their every post… they know where to put the hashtags. Furthermore, you employed them because you don’t have the time (or skills) to manage your accounts, so let them work.

Do not hinder progress – Micromanagement leads to chaos and confusion. If your employees know that you eventually sweep in and demand changes after they’ve wrapped up projects, or that you’re the only one who can approve them, they won’t listen to their supervisors. Leave the day to day functions of your business to your managers. Business will flow more efficiently.  Create leaders who can step in and take your place if you are not around.

Focus on the right priorities – Learn to delegate if you want to move forward. As the CEO, it is not your duty to decide the specs of a banner that goes on to the website, the colour scheme of the office party or how to handle a disgruntled client who posted on your social media pages. Problems begin when you start focusing on the wrong priorities – you fail to see the bigger picture. Keep an eye on the competition and let your managers and employees focus on the details.

My way or the high way crushes creativity – Your employees should breathe life into your organisation. Put them to work. Don’t allow only one way of doing things – you’re taking away your employees’ creativity and innovation, for which you paid top dollar.  Additionally, when these people quit, you’ll only be surrounded by yes men and women who will only be around for so long as your company, which isn’t moving forward, is a sinking ship.

It’s damn exhausting! – Doing every other person’s – instead of your own – job is exhausting. If you continue on this streak, you won’t have time to spend with family, go on vacation and recharge. No one is it at their best running around after everyone else. While you are busy micromanaging, your competitors are busy stealing your customers and gaining bigger profit margins.

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