Nothing is more difficult for employees than a manager who wants to be kept in the loop about every little thing. According to a survey by Trinity Solutions, 79% have had a micromanager as a supervisor. Around 69% have thought about changing jobs because of micromanagement and 36% have actually done so. 71% also said that micromanagement negatively affects their job performance and 85% said that their motivation would suffer as a result of this behaviour.

Are you part of these alarmingly high figures? Have you ever experienced micromanagement or are you currently experiencing it? Are you thinking about whether you might be managing your employees in this way yourself?

Then you've come to the right place. In this article you will find a precise definition as well as information about the possible consequences.

Definition of micromanagement

Micromanagement refers to a type of behaviour that is characterised by frequent checks on employees and a lack of trust. In most cases, there is also perfectionism, which means that tasks are often completed by employees themselves instead of delegating them. New managers in particular are said to be very prone to this. However, even famous managers such as Steve Jobs were not always immune to this behaviour.

The negative consequences of micromanagement - the vicious circle

Micromanagement is very dangerous for the relationship between the line manager and the employees concerned. The implicit message is: "I don't trust you". This mistrust and the associated control leads to a drop in morale. A vicious circle is created, as shown in the picture below.

Mistrust increases Mistrust of the manager leads to an increased need for control. Details and status updates (1)

You can see that such mistrust-driven behaviour combined with a high level of detail-orientation leads to a downward spiral. In addition, the working relationship can be so badly affected that the employee resigns.

However, this can also have negative consequences for the manager themselves.

Micromanagement is at least as damaging to the managers concerned

Micromanagers often see themselves as the greatest experts in their team or company and confirm this by frequently taking on tasks themselves. This leads to an increased workload and therefore less time for actual management tasks. Ultimately, not only the employees suffer from this, but also the entire company.

Warning signs that micromanagement is occurring in your company

So how can you recognise micromanagement? If you want to take a systematic approach, there are two general warning signs that can help you recognise the problem. In both cases, it is advisable to seek dialogue and keep a record of this in order to identify regularities.

  • High turnover rate: If there is a noticeably high cancellation rate in a particular department or team, this may be an indication that the manager in question is a micromanager. If your suspicions are reinforced, it is advisable to make specific enquiries with former employees. If you receive more and more similar feedback, you have identified a specific need for action.
  • Low performance: If the performance and motivation within a department is poor, this can also be attributed to the behaviour of a micromanager. Here too, it is a good idea to seek an open dialogue with the employees concerned and ask about their satisfaction with their manager.

You can then systematically analyse the notes from both conversations and examine them for anomalies. To sharpen your focus in advance, the next blog post contains a list of behaviours that you can look out for. This can help you to solve the problem as effectively as possible. We will also show you possible solutions to banish micromanagement from your company in the long term. So be sure to come back, it will be worth your while.

Created by Simon Müller am 30.09.2021 um 10:09 Uhr