It starts off with thinking it would be easier to tackle a task herself than to rely on an employee to do it. Then it’s double- or triple-checking an employee’s work, creating schedules that are timed to the minute, and asking for reports on a fanatical basis. It’s called micromanaging, and almost every manager has done it at one time or another. But micromanaging is one of the most damaging workplace behaviors for both managers and employees, and it always backfires. Moreover, it often results in the very behaviors it was intended to prevent.
Wastes Time and Resources
So many managers begin the slide down the slippery slope of micromanagement because of a missed deadline or a project that has dragged on and on for months with no tangible results. The failure of one employee or team to complete a task snowballs into checking, double-checking, or just taking on tasks yourself to make sure things are done. Pretty soon what was meant to preserve deadlines and save time becomes a waste of time and valuable resources, as minutes, hours or even days are spent by managers doing what their employees are willing and able — and paid — to do.
Potential Policy/Procedure Violations
An organization’s policies, procedures and job descriptions are the framework that keeps employees and management on an even keel. Micromanaging behavior that subtly or overtly violates policies and procedures makes management difficult; micromanaging that is at odds with employee job descriptions makes performance evaluations and other disciplinary actions difficult to substantiate — it’s hard to complain of an employee’s job performance when he or she is not allowed to perform the job duties according to the job description.
The most dangerous pitfall of micromanaging is the inevitable erosion of morale. Employees who see evidence that managers do not trust them to do their jobs feel undervalued and disrespected. They resent management, and before long, they begin to feel that they’d be better off almost any place than their current job. When employees have checked out of their jobs emotionally, it is only a matter of time before productivity and even safety begin to suffer.
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