A demoralized employee with her manager looking over her shoulder, one of the many consequences of micro-managing in business.

What is Micro-Managing in Business?

Everyone has, at some point in their life, worked under the jurisdiction of a micro-manager. Whether it’s in your personal or professional life, these individuals inevitably make an appearance. Micro-managing in business is often not ill-intentioned, but it can hurt your business. You are their manager, not their shadow. Micro-management is a symptom that has several different causes, ranging from a fear of failure to a desire to feel more connected with employees. Regardless of the cause, sweating the small stuff has major consequences on a business and requires immediate attention. 

For decades, at Consilio, we have delivered the leading management coaching in Southern California to a range of businesses, from start-ups to Fortune 100s. We help reform micro-managers to help businesses flourish. Learn about micro-management in our blog. 

What is Micro-Managing in Business?

A micro-manager is a boss or manager who gives excessive supervision to employees. Rather than telling an employee what task they need to accomplish and when they need to finish it, they closely monitor their work and provide frequent feedback and criticism. 

While it produces short-term results, micro-managing in business hurts morale in the long run, can feel condescending, and makes employees feel like there is a fundamental lack of trust. This type of management results in absenteeism and hinders things like employee:

  • Growth 
  • Decision-making
  • Ownership
  • Creativity 
  • Initiative 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Critical thinking 

“One of the worst things about micro-management is that it makes your team doubt themselves. By nitpicking them every step of the way and constantly looking over their shoulders, you are hurting your employees’ confidence. But, worst of all, micro-management causes resentment to build because your people feel stunted and feel like you don’t respect them because you are undermining them at every turn.” -Stacey McKibbin, CEO of Consilio.

Managers who subscribe to this type of management use up all their time supervising their team’s work, overstating the importance of minor details, and end up tanking their retention and engagement. 

Managers don’t always realize they are micro-managers. It can be a hard pill to swallow. Premier manager coaching can help you unlearn this style of management, learn to trust your people and improve morale and productivity by leaving it in the rear-view mirror. 

What Are Signs of Micro-Managing in Business?

They say the devil is in the details, which applies to micro-management, too. Telltale signs of an overbearing manager who is stifling (and possibly smothering) their employees include:

  • Requesting that their people CC them on every correspondence
  • Taking on more work than they can manage by taking on other people’s assignments
  • Constantly looking over their employees’ shoulders 
  • Asking for unending updates on the status of a project
  • Constantly complaining
  • Requiring approval for every task
  • Wanting to know what all employees are doing at all times
  • Not just delegating what employees need to do, but how they do it
  • Never being happy with deliverables
  • Leaving no room for creativity and initiatives
  • Criticizing employees’ decision-making without giving constructive feedback
  • Discouraging independent decision-making
  • Focusing on unimportant details
  • Overcomplicating instructions
  • Never passing on their skills or knowledge
  • Ignoring employees’ suggestions or input

“Micro-managing in business is a headache. But it’s so much more than that. Micro-managers often have trouble meeting deadlines because they obsess over unimportant details and constantly ask their people to redo work. This style of management hurts your productivity and bottom line.” – Stacey.

How Can I Stop Micro-Managing in Business?

The first step is admitting you have a problem, which can be the most difficult to take. It is nothing short of commendable to take that initial step, but reforming a manager’s behavior is equally difficult, especially without the help of effective manager training. 

Some strategies to break this habit include:

Premier Management Coaching in Southern California

Micro-managing in business has a limited place in business. Micro-managers hurt their team’s confidence, morale, productivity, and engagement. While recognizing it is an important step, this is a deep-rooted issue that requires the help of management coaching. At Consilio, we have been providing premier manager coaching throughout Southern California for years. 

Stop sweating the small stuff to start reaping big rewards. Schedule a consultation now to maximize retention and, as a result, maximize your collective success.

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