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micromanagement at work

When Is Micromanagement A Good Choice For Managers?

Micromanagement at work has been defined in different ways by different people. However, at the heart of it, micromanagement is often considered a negative management style that doesn’t allow employees to make decisions, prove themselves, or show their uniqueness. It restricts employees under strict guidelines and removes the manager’s ability to practice effective delegation. Even though it negatively impacts the team, managers must know certain situations where micromanagement in the workplace can help them achieve goals. So, without further ado, let’s start. 

What’s The Meaning of Micromanagement? 

The term micromanagement has been defined as the excessive and burdensome supervision of subordinates by their superiors. It is the term that is often used in workplaces to describe the practice of managing employees’ work too closely. Micromanagement in the workplace as a leadership style can harm employee morale and productivity, leading to feelings of stress and anxiety. It can also lead to tension and resentment.

Too much micromanagement makes the managers authoritarian. It happens because these micromanagers try to control everything their employees do. It is believed that micromanagers often lack empathy and compassion, and they mostly believe in closely managing their team, which can create a hostile working environment. It is essential to be aware of the signs of micromanagement and avoid it where it won’t add any value to your management or your team. 

Drawbacks of Using Micromanagement  At Work

We have listed a few major ones out of the many drawbacks that micromanagement at work can bring to the table. 

Micromanagement leads to: 

Read more about micromanagement and its drawbacks here.

But, as these drawbacks show that micromanagement is majorly negative, there are some positive aspects to it. If practiced judiciously and just in specific situations, micromanagement can be good. We’ll be discussing these pros in our next section. 

Is micromanagement good?

Although micromanagement in the workplace carries a strong negative connotation. It is still practiced by many managers and leaders who swear by it. So the debate goes – is micromanagement bad? Or is micromanagement good?

Here we will try to look into some benefits of micromanagement. Definitely managers cannot use micromanagement for a prolonged period, as that will manifest its drawbacks. The pros of micromanagement, however, can be effective if you use it judiciously. Before looking at these instances, let’s first understand the pros of micromanagement at work:

Improve Team Productivity

When done correctly, micromanagement in the workplace can help to improve team productivity by ensuring that all tasks are complete and correct. It can reduce workflow errors, ultimately resulting in faster and more accurate work. But, the intensity of micromanagement should not cross the line. It is not like the more you micromanage, the more productivity you’ll generate. Instead, the reality is the opposite of that. Therefore, managers should use micromanagement at work to a minimal extent. 

Maintains Morale

After our earlier discussion, it may sound contradictory that micromanagement could lead to higher morale. But, it is also true that it may also help maintain team morale when done appropriately. We understand that clear communication is godsend when it comes to overcoming chaos. By providing employees clear instructions and expectations, optimum use of micromanagement at work can relieve the feeling of overload and stress. This, in turn, promotes a positive work environment.

Avoid Miscommunications

By providing clear instructions and expectations, micromanagement may help avoid miscommunication between team members. It can lead to a more harmonious workplace where everyone is on the same page when done correctly. But, once you communicate the expectations to the team, micromanagement should take a step back, and team members should get a chance to prove themselves and thrive. 

Facilitate Correct Performance

When used judiciously, it may also facilitate correct performance by ensuring that all team members are working within the confines of their assigned tasks. It can be used extensively for mentoring new employees. This way micromanaging the team can lead to avoidance of any oversight and a decrease in wastage of resources and time, which can ultimately help to improve overall efficiency. 

It is important to remember that managers can unlock these benefits only in some specific situations. Let’s discuss over what are those situations in our next section. 

Where can managers use micromanagement in the workplace?

Micromanagement can be a good option in some situations. Here are five cases where managers can use it to achieve desired outcomes:

If a team member is struggling to perform

If a team member struggles to perform their assigned task and does not meet the required standards, micromanagement can be a good option. It may be helpful to implement extremely close handholding for short durations. It will help the team member to focus and get back on track. But, the managers should be sure of discontinuing it once the team member has regained their focus and previous level of performance.

This type of micromanagement at work should only be used as a last resort and should be carefully weighed against the potential risks of over-supervision. In case the performance of the team member doesn’t improve, the manager must not push with more micromanagement. It will only be detrimental to the overall working relationship.

Crisis situations

Crisis situations are a perfect example where the qualities of a micromanager shine. In such a situation, you often need precise communication and instructions on what the team members must do. Moreover, to overcome a crisis, you need a single point of leadership that knows what needs to be done. Also, the manager should communicate that clearly to the team members.

Imagine if the latest release of your software product has a major bug. As soon as you identify it, you will dispatch your team to different directions to locate and fix the bug. You will yourself jump into the code and try to find the best solution for the problem. Even before that, you might ask someone in your team to quickly release a patch that might prevent users from seeing an error screen. You will have a clear plan in your mind, and others have to execute that plan.

By closely monitoring the progress of a project or team, you can intervene when the proverbial shit is about to hit the fan. This is exactly the situation when people need to use micromanagement in the workplace. But, make sure to stop micromanaging your team once the crisis has been averted or the work is complete. 

Immediate request from any stakeholder that needs to be delivered urgently

Managers can also resort to micromanaging their team when they need to deliver immediate requests from any stakeholder. It could be anything from an irate customer who wants to discuss a warranty issue or a supplier who has an urgent delivery requirement. By tracking these requests and responding to them as soon as possible, you can keep your stakeholders happy and can make sure to finish the vital business tasks as quickly as possible. But, if the situation isn’t immediate or urgent, it’s essential to put micromanagement out of your mind. Stick your thumbs in the air and just let things take their course.

When working with an inexperienced and young workforce

While working with an inexperienced or young workforce, it is essential to provide regular guidance and feedback to develop their skills appropriately. When you positively use micromanagement at work, in this particular situation, it helps to ensure that the workers are adequately trained and updated on the job and your team’s way of working. It will better equip any young or new employee to settle into your team. Once done, you should slowly delegate and build autonomy and take away the micromanagement entirely. 

To bring a delayed project back on track

Managers can also use micromanagement in the workplace to help bring a delayed project back on track. When a project is delayed, it can often be due to one or more of the following: insufficient resources, interpersonal conflicts, missed deadlines, or incorrect assumptions. Close monitoring will help the team to get the project back on track and meet its original target date. With careful planning and execution, micromanagement can help to avoid further delays. It can ensure that the project reaches its intended completion date. But, if there is no delay or shortfall in the project, there is no need for the manager to resort to micromanagement at work.

Conclusion

Micromanagement is managing someone or something excessively or to an unreasonable degree. While it may have some benefits, it comes with drawbacks most times. These drawbacks can ultimately harm the individual or entity you are managing. In this blog, we have discussed the meaning of micromanagement, its potential consequences, and the situations where it can be a good option and managers can use it effectively. So, if you ever see yourself contemplating whether to use or not use micromanagement, make sure to use it only if you see yourself in these specific situations and not otherwise.

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