The dreaded micromanager is the bane of any productive workspace. We’ve all been there – the manager who needs to be CC’d on every email. The boss who demands reports so often that you can’t get any real work done. Even the coworker who nit-picks everything you do. It’s no secret that micromanagement in all its forms is one of the biggest contributors to employee disengagement and ‘quiet quitting’; a 2014 survey from Accountemps reported that 59% of employees have worked for or with a micromanager, and the percent of workers who reported micromanagement hurting their morale – 68% – has only gone up in recent years, with a recent survey from Trinity Solutions reporting a whopping 85% of respondents citing micromanagement as a personal morale-killer.
Micromanagement is both one of the most common and most bothersome of workplace ills because it is difficult to identify, and even more difficult to adequately address. But the first step of handling micromanagement is to recognize what’s going on, and to differentiate micromanagement from attentive management! Below are some common traits of micromanagement that can help you identify it at your workplace.
Excessive Amounts of Reporting
Reporting is a crucial part of understanding and improving campaigns. Still, a manager who requests excessive reports on projects can serve as more of a detriment than an incentive. Daily check-ins on the same task, for instance, tend to increase stress and decrease productivity. If a manager is hanging over their shoulder, it’ll leave employees thinking more about their check-in meeting than the project itself. An organized routine for project check-ins on a weekly or biweekly basis can go a long way in cutting down micromanagement.
Hyper-Focus on Details at the Wider Project’s Expense
Detail-oriented management is a great trait, especially for managers who need to oversee complex projects with many moving parts. But sometimes, a focus on detail can slip into minutia, where workers start spending unproductive time addressing minor details at the manager’s request. It can be tricky to differentiate between detail-oriented style and genuine micromanagement, so to tell the difference try asking yourself: “Is this feedback rooted in industry best practice, or is it a personal preference?” When small details are being changed, backed up by data that shows it’ll improve the project, then you have an attentive manager; but if small details are being regularly changed for no clear reason other than personal preferences, you may have a micromanager on your hands.
The best way to deal with micromanagement is to help your manager realize that they don’t need to. Every worker is an individual who handles tasks in a unique way. Encourage them to be open to employees trying tasks in new ways, rather than always having to get their way. Personal solutions founded on good, mutual communication are the best solution to micromanagement, as they are for a great number of major HR stressors – take it from the personalized benefits experts! Discount programs like PerkSpot only work due to providing meaningful, individual solutions – the kind that you should be encouraging micromanagers to take, rather than zooming in on the little things.