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15 July 2019 laia

The Decay of comms: The negative effects of micromanaging your team and how to mend it

Micromanagement. It’s a curse word in the working world (and rightly so). We don’t like to hear it mentioned, definitely don’t like to experience it, and yet it happens so often that productivity decline and turnover increases are plaguing the industry.

A work environment created by micromanagement is inefficient and filled with unease. Employees who are made to feel that their work will never be good enough, lose motivation and confidence in their ability to perform.

Here are a few ways micromanagement negatively affects employees:

Reduced Innovation

Employee engagement drives innovation, and empowering employees helps increase creativity and productivity. Micromanagement disempowers employees by not allowing them to get results in ways that work for them. This makes them feel less accountable for their results and less engaged. Micromanagers underutilise their employees’ skills, knowledge, and talent by controlling their every movement. They leave no room for employees to critique and improve their own processes to develop their expertise. Essentially, micromanagers diminish their teams’ capacity to innovate. Demanding creativity while jumping in to make decisions and adding pressure to work a certain way does not create a work environment conducive to innovation.

Impact on the Workplace Atmosphere

In the employee job satisfaction survey, millennials cited their number one contributor (66%) to satisfaction in the workplace as ‘respectful treatment of all employees at all levels’. It’s no wonder that the atmosphere becomes contentious when employees feel frustrated and that their contributions are not valued. Demotivated employees create a poor atmosphere which can have long-reaching business effects like unhappy clients, uncreative work, and low staff retention.

Do you think you might be a micro manager? Here’s a few key indicators you just might be:

  1. You don’t trust your team and they avoid you.
  2. You brief your team, but answer your own brief without allowing their input.
  3. You generally control the flow of information and lack transparency with your team and clients.
  4. You criticise the small things (execution) without guiding the thinking (strategy).
  5. You interfere with the creative process, and believe your ideas are more valuable as the senior team member with more experience.
  6. You’re territorial and you limit others other’s input to the task at hand, you rarely delegate.
  7. You watch every move an employee makes and are sure to let them know about it.
  8. You create the rules on how a task needs to be done, but do not provide any insight on why those rules matter.

So what are some steps can you take to mend the communication gap on your team?

It’s no surprise that micromanagement and the lack of communication are closely aligned. Essentially, learning how to effectively communicate with your colleagues is the best way to understand the management style they best respond to, helps mitigate conflict, and is an integral element to business success. One of my favourite Richard Branson recommendations for leaders is to “listen more than you talk”, by listening and absorbing others opinions you not only learn something new, you also showcase that you place value in the other person’s contribution. Another useful tip? Don’t forget that your body language speaks volumes and your non-verbal cues contribute up to 55% of how your message is perceived.  Showcase you are truly engaged by what your colleague is saying by providing them your full attention (get off your phone) and master other physical habits that exhibit your engagement.

There are many other ways of learning communications skills, you need to invest the time in researching some that best work for you and your team. Communicating effectively in the workplace is an essential tool we all need to work towards perfecting, after all it is where we spend at least eight hours a day.  

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Syreeta van Rooyen P.R Senior Account Manager , PR syreeta.vanrooyen@mslgroup.com

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