How micromanaging affects employee performance

Have you ever seen a beehive? Or an ant colony? Not that they are very prominent to the human eye, but, if you observe, you cannot but notice a highly process-driven ‘organisation’ of sorts. The workers keep working meticulously at their own pace and in their own space, with the sole purpose of bringing back the fruits of their labour to their leader. What’s most interesting is that you would never see the queen bee or the queen ant hovering around while workers line up to gather food or build an ant-hill. And yet these two communities are known to be the most hard-working in the animal kingdom and highly productive. The key to the success of these most negligible, yet important, sections of our ecosystem is the instilled sense of responsibility towards their community with zero micromanagement from their leaders.

Although the most intelligent species, human leaders still tend to micromanage others. It is more of an instinctive habit that arises from a lack of trust, insecurity or practice. When it comes to handling organisational teams, managers and leaders often over-analyse actions and predict reactions of employees without first allowing them the freedom to complete the task at hand. Can employees thrive under such a scenario?

Here are some of the pitfalls associated with over-managing employees.

Micromanaging is like poor parenting

Leading an organisation is like raising a family. You cannot spoon-feed your children and expect them to grow up as responsible adults. Similarly, micromanaging your team members is indirectly taking responsibility off them. How you manage your employees speaks a lot about the culture your organisation breeds. Companies with micro-managers at large come across as ‘protectors’, and tend to make employees more detached and devalued.

Micromanagement leads to:

Low productivity

Whether the reason for micromanaging is lack of trust, clarity, miscommunication, or even lack of objectives, the end result always remains the same – poor productivity. Leaders need to understand the mental make-up of the millennial worker before defining their ‘work process’ (which is based on micromanaging). The Generation Y employee seeks an ethical organisation which provides space, pace, and independence of work process and are highly resistant to micromanagement. Managers need to shift their focus from “how it is done” to “what is done”, which could otherwise affect the organisational goals.

Lack of motivation

The 19th century ideology of ‘Responsibility without authority’ is demotivating to millennials and results in substandard performance. It also causes an employee to feel alienated from the organisation and its objectives.

Low self-esteem

Micromanaging employees can make them feel under-confident and restricts their ability to take the initiative. Why? Because every time they think of doing something, they are afraid of doing it wrong. This not only makes them over dependent on others, but never allows them to grow as professionals.

Increased attrition

It is human nature to seek motivation from your surroundings. And seeing a demotivated colleague is definitely not an inspiring sight. This leads to lack of job security and easy departure of employees. A higher attrition rate in a company also creates a bad reputation when it comes to hiring.

Increased stress levels

De-motivation leads to dissatisfaction which subsequently leads to stress. Over-stressed employees tend to have more health issues than their satisfied counterparts. And irregularity at work affects performance.

Think beyond recruitment

By 2025, Generation Y will comprise 75% of the workforce (global). So, as leaders, if you want your teams to succeed, you need to keep the guardrails off where not needed. That is when your employees will become truly productive. As experts in recruitment and a HR knowledge partner, at TalentSpa we understand the nuances of millennial leadership, and can help you with insights and analysis.