Do you find it difficult to let your employees work independently in their own way, as you fear that the outcomes will not be satisfactory? Does the idea of delegating important tasks to your subordinates sound like a nightmare, as you constantly think of them as underperformers? If the answer to one or both of these questions is ‘yes’, be careful! This means that you have micromanagement. And it could be a danger.
There is difference between being an over-detailed leader and overbearing boss. You might not realise that you have been suffocating your employees as you keep hovering over everything they do until they show signs of severe burnout. Micromanaging is one of the most dangerous habits typically demonstrated by perfectionist leaders. Founded on an exaggerated sense of worry, leaders with this trait tend to take control over their employees’ moves and want to be involved in any problem solving and decision making process.
No one wants to be controlled in every aspect of life, including your employees. If you dictate every step they have to take, this action might bring some effects. First, your staffs might lose their creativity and confidence so they become very dependent on you. Second, as employees are only humans who have their own will and autonomy, they might eventually feel overwhelmed and stressed because they are constantly imposed by the higher-up. Third, there could be an opposite effect as the more you want to control the employees, the more they want to break away and rebel. If this happens, there will be chaos in the team that will impact directly on your business stability.
Below, we share some reasons why micromanagement is a sign of poor leadership – and you should stop doing it:
You might think that micromanagement is an effective way to get closer to your subordinates and gain their trust. However, that is not always the case. Instead, micromanagement could destroy trust. When you are constantly correcting every single task they perform, your staffs will no longer see you as a manager, but an authoritarian boss. When you have lost their trust, it is just a matter of time that you will lose employees too.
When you give a task to an employee but unable to leave him alone as you worry that he will make fatal mistakes along the way, maybe the real problem lies in your poor communication skill. As you are unable to provide clear direction about the task, the employee gets confused, continuously makes mistakes, and fails. As you are unable to communicate your expectations well, the employee fails to perform the best and you feel the need to micromanage them.
There is no doubt that the habit of micromanagement robs employees’ autonomy as well as limiting their opportunities to reach their full competency. While in fact, a great leader should be able to see the hidden potential of an employee and let them shine. Therefore, when you micromanage, you might be constraining talented employees from reaching their self-growth.
Having emotional intelligence is one of the characteristics of a successful leader. They do not only have the ability to manage and identify their own emotions, but also empathise their employees’ emotions as well. Be it because arrogance, fear, or insecurity, being a micromanaging leader shows that you fail to control your own emotions and egos that eventually will affect the whole team.