Mirriam Webster’s Dictionary defines Micromanagement as management with excessive control and attention on details. It is giving detailed instructions on small tasks, when a manager should be concentrating on the larger concerns. Micromanaging employees means you keep too tight a reign on everything, no one can make a decision without your say-so.
This style of management shows a lack of faith and trust in your own employees and it is repressive – employees cannot grow in this sort of work environment. Furthermore it discourages any sort of human resource development. Employees will never gain experience and greater job knowledge if they’re never allowed to implement decisions in the workplace.
Working for a boss who micro-manages your every action can be a stressful environment to work in. Employees can feel stagnated, repressed, like they have no voice in their workplace. Micromanagement effectively ‘ties their hands’ and leaves employees frustrated by their lack of responsibility. They feel power-less, and as such, the workplace can become an unhealthy place for them.
Though occupational health and safety looks after the physical safety of employees, less emphasis is placed on their mental safety.
Management pays to recruit the best, invests in the hiring and training of individuals, and then micro-management doesn’t allow them to develop by refusing to allow them to take on new responsibility. And this means you cheat yourself out of the talent you paid for. Micro-managing may work for a short while, but success can’t be built on one person, and micromanagement stifles all creativity and sources of new ideas. New product, new markets will never be explored because you employees are silenced.
Even if there is just one micro-manager in your workplace, the effects ripple out. Micro management undermines an employee’s confidence within their own capabilities, and this reduces their productivity levels. They take less pride in their work, and they begin to detach – putting the hours in, but little else. Why bother when your manager allows you no room to grow?That apathy can spread to other employees. Not only that, but if there are several managers, and only one is a micro-manager, this can lead to jealousy and conflict among employees. Workers resent that they’re the ones stuck with the ‘toxic boss’, and they may conflict with other employees because of it. They can become angry and frustrated, which could erupt into violence and aggression in the workplace, or lead to employees quitting suddenly.It stagnates productivity in the workplace – happy workers work harder, because they are invested in their work and proud of the results. A micro-manager obliterates all of that by refusing to relinquish control.
The first step in controlling micro-management is to train management to recognise the signs. Sometimes this reluctance to relinquish responsibility seems logical to the micro-manager. Some micro-managers try to justify their micro-management, white-washing it as a ‘good’ thing. They justify it by saying some employees need to be closely watched. Managers must be trained to recognise the signs of micromanagement.Once they determine they are susceptible, they have to understand why they’re unable to relinquish that control. Who and what are they micro-managing? Why do they feel the need to do it? Once they recognise their own reasons, they can more easily identify their behaviour as it occurs.There are ways to stay on top of things, without breathing down employee’s necks, and managers can be taught how to properly track employee progress, when to conduct checks, and when to outsource issues and problems. Mandatory training in proper management styles for all new management hires and promotions is a great precaution.
Internal campaigns would be best, to help micro-managers recognise their own management style, and realise it is detrimental to the workplace. Use of impacting posters in central work areas, and training about the cost of micromanagement would highlight this issue within the workplace.
THE TOXIC BOSS/MICROMANAGEMENT Charina Gardiner and Bradley See
WHAT IS “MICROMANAGING”?Micromanagement: A form of management where a manager exercises excessive control and puts too much attention on details.
WHO IS THE TOXIC BOSS?A micro-manager or “toxic boss” can berecognised by one or more of thefollowing traits: Management with excessive control Painful attention to detail Giving detailed instructions on small tasks when not needed Superiority issues Lack of faith and trust Always wants to be consulted
SIGNIFICANCE TO OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFET YThe impact of micromanagement onoccupational health and safety isgenerally related to mental healthconcerns. Sickness absence (Mental/Physical) Stress breakdown Suicide or attempted suicide Ill health retirements Possible legal issues
SIGNIFICANCE TO OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFET Y According to an Ipsos Reid survey, 22% of Canadian employees report that they currently suffer from depression. A further 17% report they have suffered from depression previously. Though occupational health and safety looks after the physical safety of employees, less emphasis is placed on their mental safety.
INCREASED COSTSMicromanaging costs you in the long run Increases recruitment costs, due to turnover. Increased WSIB/CSPAAT rates due to avoidable claims. Intangible costs to knowledge capital. Discourages teamwork among employees. Reduces productivity.
IMPACT ON THE WORKPLACEThe impact of micro-management caninclude : Decreased moral Staff turnover Grievance action Disciplinary action Depression Death in service Customer complaints Early retirements
PRECAUTIONSThere are simple precautions that can betaken to avoid the negative impacts of atoxic boss : Training programs for existing managers Implement proper employee progress tracking system Identify when management is needed/not needed and establish guidelines Reliable reporting system for employees
CAMPAIGN Training sessions about the cost of micro-management Rewards for implementing empowering techniques Use of impacting posters in central work areas Help micro-managers recognise themselves personally