The Manager Tools blogs rails against a recent American Way article that painted a picture of micromanagement as being rampant and a crisis. The post is called There is NOT and Micromanagement "Pandemic."
I agree with MT that the statistics are poor and inaccurately extrapolated.
I agree with MT that the article’s characterization is a bit extreme and therefor not helpful.
That said, I think that micromanagement is a common barrier to manager and team success. And I would like to disagree with one quote from the MT post:
Look, it´s unlikely you are a micromanager. (But if your team reads this article, they might think you are, just to make themselves feel like part of the majority!)
Many of you reading this likely micromanage at times. And this likely gets in your way. I would rather think of micromanagement as an act or behavior than as a badge. Here’s how I define micromanagement:
Providing more direction, oversight, rules, or guidelines than is optimal to encourage peak performance. When we micromanage, we overmanage.
Some people think that you can’t overmanage, but I disagree.
Why do we micromanage?
- We have a definition of success steeped in control.
- We don’t trust our employees (related to control).
- We fear failure (related to control).
- We don’t know what else to do with our managerial minutes – that’s the way we learned.
- Our bosses have asked us to overmanage (related to any of the above).
- The working culture promotes micromanagement (related to control somewhere and at some time).
- Some people need direction so you stick it to everyone.
How do we know when we are micromanaging? This is a tough question to answer, but there are a few indicators that are easy to recognize.
- Each person might need a different amount of direction and this will likely change over time. Are you managing everyone equally? If so, some people are likely experiencing micromanagement (or others are not experiencing enough).
- You feel the need to be present during conversations your employees have with your peers or manager and you want to be cc’d a lot.
- You specify HOW everything ought to be done.
- You ask for detailed activity reports.
- Leadership in your department does NOT change with the topic/task.
- You do all or most the talking at meetings.
- Your to-do list contains tasks that ought to be done by someone else (most of us are guilty of this one).
And there are more, for sure. It is tough to come up with a crisp and helpful list because we each manifest micromanagement differently.
Here’s what we know. Creating an environment where people want to do their best work is a challenge and how each person feels about the company, the work, and their manager is very important. Micromanagement looks different for different people, but it sucks the life out of people. As managers we need to do our best to make sure we are providing just enough, and not too much, management.
This is worth repeating: micromanagement sucks the life out of workers.