Micromanaging isn't always a negative technique and can prove to be beneficial in a number of different circumstances. Understanding when micromanaging is acceptable can enable you to better manage your team.
All managers have to organize their employees’ day-to-day work in some way in order to ensure that tasks are being completed as and when they should be. However, some can take things a bit far and end up micromanaging everything, which can have a number of negative effects on staff.
Unfortunately, it isn't possible to give employees complete autonomy over every aspect of their job and there are some cases when micromanaging is the only or best option. While this can be frustrating for staff, ensuring that you communicate with them exactly why you are taking a larger role in their tasks can help limit resentment, stop productivity dropping off and avoid a high staff turnover.
While not every task at every time requires a manager breathing down someone's neck, here are some instances when it pays to micromanage and keeping a closer eye on activities could actually provide benefits.
Periods of uncertainty
If a company is going through a bad time or a period of uncertainty, it can be important to micromanage your team to ensure that everyone knows there is a plan in place that will improve the organization's stability. Failing to keep everyone on track can not only cause more financial losses for the company, it can also mean that people panic and start leaving, which can make the situation worse for those left at the company.
In this instance, letting your team know the plan is vital, as it helps them feel more in control of their own situation, as well as reduce any negative backlash that comes from micromanaging. Put new systems in place that allow you to track work and assess what needs to be done, as well as ensure there are open forums available so you can discuss issues with staff.
Introducing new staff to a company is one of the most common cases when micromanaging might actually be necessary. Inducting a new employee to a team involves a lot of elements, from seeing how they fit in with existing workers to ensuring they understand their role.
Simply giving them every task at once and letting them get on with it can leave them feeling stressed, unsupported and in over their heads. Instead, breaking tasks up for them, regularly checking their progress and being available to help can all ensure new employees settle in and feel happy in their role.
Bad employee conduct
If a staff member is consistently not performing to the best of their ability, leaving work unfinished or behaving in a way that is unprofessional or offensive, micromanaging them could help to curtail this. In these instances, micromanaging can ensure they understand that they have not been delivering what is expected of them and could stop negative behavior from continuing.
It will also enable you to ascertain whether their behavior is likely to be an ongoing issue and if you should begin disciplinary proceedings alongside a new management strategy.
Employees may not always understand just how important time restrictions are on projects, which can mean that you need to micromanage to ensure everything is getting done within the set limit. While you need to ensure you have communicated how time-sensitive the tasks are, you may still need to chase them up and ensure they are completed to an appropriate standard.
As you are the one responsible for ensuring time-sensitive projects are delivered, it is also up to you to keep on top of them at every stage.
Implementing new processes within a company can be difficult enough, but it can be made worse if the person in charge of them doesn’t help staff acclimatize to the alterations. It isn't enough to simply explain the process and let people get on with it, as this can lead to mistakes or some people failing to change their way of working.
Micromanaging can help when it comes to finding problems, ensuring everyone is working in the same way and providing any extra training that may be required. This can ultimately mean that the new processes become successful much faster.
Lots of questions
If an employee is unsure about what they are meant to be doing, the likelihood is they'll ask their manager a lot of questions. According to Jennifer Selby Long, founder of the Selby Group, this is the equivalent of someone asking for help, which could be a sign that micromanaging is the best option to help build an employee's confidence.
- How can you break their tasks down?
- How often should you check in with them?
- How can you structure their workload?
By providing a solution to these questions, you should be able to help them get back on track and ensure they feel happier in their role.
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