Micromanagement: Necessary evil or just plain evil?

Everyone hates to be micromanaged, yet managers continue to do it. Are you a micromanager, too?

Micromanagement. It’s a fact of management life. What I want to know is why so many people hate to be micro-managed yet so many managers continue to do it?

Is it a trust issue? Do micromanagers think that for something to be done right, it must be done themselves? Is it because it takes longer to train employees to do something than it is to do it yourself? Just what makes the big MM a necessary evil?

Or is it? Could it be that micromanagement isn’t a necessary evil at all? Could it be that it’s just plain evil? I say “YES!” And I think most of you would agree with me.

Let’s take an honest look at this thing. We all hate being micromanaged, right? And why do we hate it? Because it makes us feel like we aren’t trusted or respected or thought highly of by our own managers. And these yucky feelings don’t do much for our employee morale do they?

So why in the world would we knowingly do this to our own employees? Aha – maybe that’s it!! Maybe there are legions of Micro-managers out there who don’t even know that they are micro-managing! WOW!! Could this be a historic discovery? Probably not, but it’s worth considering anyway.

First of all, can we all just agree that Mm-ing our employees just plain stinks and we won’t do it anymore? Great! But now that we’ve agreed that we won’t do it, it’s up to us to take a long honest look at ourselves to determine areas in which we might just be Mming and not even really realizing it!

So, in the tradition of Jeff Foxworthy…

You might be a Micromanager if:

1. You spend a measurable amount of time handholding employees. Ask yourself: Why do I do this? Are they not capable? Is there training to be given which would improve their skills thereby freeing up my hand-holding?

2. You spend a measurable amount of time overseeing particular projects. Ask yourself: Which projects do I spend the most time checking in on? Am I micro-managing the employees working on these projects? Have I given them a chance to prove their capabilities?

3. You spend time telling people exactly what to do and how. Ask yourself: Is this kind of instruction really necessary? Is there a way to give less instruction and allow employees to find solutions to issues themselves?

4. You find yourself irritated when other make decisions without consulting you. Ask yourself: What is wrong with me? Am I on a power-trip? Or am I simply trying to make sure things are running smoothly? How can I work on letting go of the reigns to allow others some autonomy?

You know, guys, sometimes you need to let go of things and allow people to find their own way. Yes, mistakes might be made. But wonderful discoveries for new and better ways might be made as well.

Sure it takes time in the short term to train the employees on how things need to be done, but it is so worth the time commitment. You and your employees will benefit in many ways. You’ll end up with more time in your day to devote to more important matters, and your employees will be able to breathe easy knowing that you aren’t going to be hovering and MM-ing them to death!! Not to mention the improvement in morale from the employees feeling good about the fact that you actually believe in them!

Another workplace win-win. This is what the Wiz lives for!!

Now go out there and be a STAR!

Molly Luffy, MBA, owner of Work Ethic Wizard, dedicated to helping managers regain their sanity and employees survive and thrive in today’s corporation. Author of “Super-Charge Your Promotion Quotient: 225 Success Strategies for the New Professional.” 

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