The Dangers of Micro-Managing
Micro-managing is a management style where a manager works closely to observe and control the work of his/her subordinates or employees. This type of manager doesn’t trust employees to accomplish their responsibilities without close instruction and there is very little trust and respect shared among the individuals.
Olympic Medalist Larry Myricks shares his own experience. Before accepting a job offer, his soon-to-be manager had agreed that he could leave his 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job as early as 4:00 a couple of days each week so that he could volunteer teaching kids.
On the days that he left early, he would receive phone calls from his manager asking, “Where are you? You’re supposed to be in your office.” Myricks would remind him, “Do you not recall the agreement that we made before I took the job?”
His manager became very hands-on or, in other words, a micro-manager.
There was even an incident where Myricks was on his lunch break and his manager would ask of his whereabouts. The athlete would remind him that by law employees were supposed to have an hour of lunch every day.
His manager would eventually rant about this saying that Myricks, even though performing very well, was not committed to the job. Larry stayed for about three to four more months, until he finally reached a breaking point with his manager and resigned.
Micro-Management’s Negative Reputation
Micro-managing has a negative connotation, and from Myricks’ experience we can see why. As a manger, you hire people that you can empower to do their jobs. However, if you have to check on their progress regularly and often, then that person might not be a right fit for the company and you. Micro-managing also stunts team members’ growth and development as strong contributors and future leaders.
There are managers in every industry who far too often have a controlling and micro-management style which serves to overcompensate for their short comings and drives their employees to eventually seek employment elsewhere.
Keeping people under the proverbial micro-management thumb can also occur by controlling their lunch breaks (as was the case for Myricks), coffee breaks and even making vacations difficult to schedule. Some managers may make subtle yet definite demands upon their people to be available when needed, in essence 24/7.
Trust is Critical
Successful working relationships include mutual trust. Trust is earned, and as managers employees need to earn the trust that they can do their job without detailed supervision. However, trust also needs to be given by the employees so that they too can work with managers efficiently. Trust is one of the foundations on which teams and working relationships are built.
In the case of Myricks, his manager made a commitment to him, yet once on the job chose to disregard that commitment. Myricks’ trust was immediately eroded.
Good managers want to trust their people to successfully accomplish the tasks at hand, to grow in their abilities and expertise and to be an important contributor to the team. Successful team members lead to successful teams, and that leads to successful careers for all.
As a self-professed “manager from hell,” Steve Caldwell learned through the hard knocks of making mistakes while building a career. Today he serves as a leadership coach, mentor and role model guiding high achieving managers to become the strong leaders their companies, employees and the world needs. He is also author of the book Manager Mojo – Be the Leader that Others Want to Follow (available on Amazon).
“In all arenas, we suffer from a lack of leadership talent,” Steve observes. “Every day employees are promoted into management with no training or support to guide their development into leadership positions. You don’t have to be born to lead. You can learn to lead.” He can be reached by email at Steve@ManagerMojo.com or by phone at (415) 670*9543.