I’ve recently had a couple of clients resort to “micromanagement” during some tough economic times. I know these executives; they are smart, on-the-ball, and savvy about their business and their people. My conversations with them surrounded the dangers of that micromanagement, and why that might be the precisely wrong move.
The dangers to me are straightforward: in times of economic scrutiny, we need employees to be thinking MORE, not less. A controlling environment may aid in the immediate task at hand, but from a downside, it also:
1. Limits an employee’s growth, and subsequently their inherent ability to “do more (presumably ‘with less’).”
2. Micro-managing, to be effective, consumes an inordinate amount of management’s time; effectively empowered employees (don’t get lost w/the fad word, just the concept) free up a manager’s time to think and contribute — presumably at a higher level of value.
3. Micro-managing frequently over-tasks managers unaccustomed to it. In an effort to “touch” everything, they become micro-MEDDLERS instead, interjecting just enough to cause chaos and confusion, then flitting off to the next victim.
Counter-intuitively, micromanaging provides less reaction to turbulent times instead of more, burns out managers, and frustrates employees.Better to simply constrict existing parameters at some reasonable level, such as spending levels and authorities, and micro-manage by exception in those few areas (or with those few people) who need it.
I can tell you with certainty that managers prone to micromanaging anyway will feel vindicated, and that “this is THEIR time” to shine. It’s not… quite the opposite.