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Micromanagement Complaints In The Workplace

Published October 05, 2016 (last updated February 9, 2023) - Face2Face Field Service Manager
Micromanaging style in the office

There are two truths about the workplace: everybody has had a boss at one point in their career and nobody likes to be micromanaged. However, micromanagement is hard to define.

What is micromanagement?

“Hands-on” management becomes micromanagement, when it is so intense it interferes with productivity and performance. If you or one of your managers manage employee behaviour that closely, it may not be good for morale and cause employees to complain. Employees often describe micromanagement as frustrating, demoralising and demotivating.

As an employer, paying attention to details and making sure the work is getting done are important and fundamental to the success of your business. So it is easy to claim micromanagement as a necessary part of managing. However, micromanaging is one of the most common employee complaints. The problem with micromanagers is that they apply the same level of intensity, scrutiny and dominating approach to every task, whether warranted or not. The bottom line is: micromanagement is not a productive approach. It is harming your employees’ morale and – ultimately – their productivity.

While micromanaging may yield short-term results, over time it negatively impacts your team and your business. You may even impact your own productivity and you run out of capacity to get important things done. You stunt your employees’ development and demoralise them. You create an organisational vulnerability when your team is not used to functioning without your presence and heavy involvement.

How do employers prevent micromanagement?

Give the “what,” not the “how.” There is nothing wrong with having an expectation about a task. However, there is a difference between sharing that expectation and dictating how to get to that result. Your job as an employer or manager is to clearly set the conditions of satisfaction for any task you assign. Articulate what you envision the final outcome to look like, but you may not need to feed step-by-step instructions on how to get there. For example, you may share the “what” and ask (rather than tell) your employee about how they plan to get there. You might be surprised that their approach, while different, may yield excellent results.

Empower your employees to make decisions

Employees are more likely to take ownership in the workplace if they have had a say in what they are doing. Not all decisions are free for employees to make, but it is important to allow them to make some on their own. By allowing employees to make decisions and be more involved, the employees have a personal stake and investment in their work or ideas. While this requires a great deal of trust, by giving employees more responsibility and confidence to make independent decisions, employees are more likely to think through their actions and be risk adverse.

Encourage your employees to be accountable to each other

Another solution may be to encourage your employees to be accountable to each other. The workplace is very much a team game and your employees should feel a sense of accountability to their colleagues. Not many people willingly want to let their team down. So it is important to create and encourage a productive team culture in your workplace by celebrating team effort over individual success.

Just as no one wants to be micromanaged, no one wants to be the much disliked micromanager. However, with a commitment to focus on the bigger picture and empowering your employees to make decisions, you can redirect your efforts to be the most effective employer or manager you can be.

As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist, Employsure can help you implement best practice approaches and procedures into your workplace and address common employee complaints. Call us today on 1300 651 415 to speak with a specialist.

About Employsure

Employsure is Australia’s largest workplace relations specialists. We take the complexity out of workplace laws to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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