Even in the bustling 21st century marked by groundbreaking employee tracking software and various management tech, many companies sadly still haven’t managed to completely eliminate micromanaging from their work culture.
Micromanagement can be defined in many ways, but at its essence, it’s an extremely controlling management style where a manager closely observes, controls, and is way too involved in an employee’s work. This approach can have particularly harmful effects on all parties involved and often creates contradictory effects.
In a futile attempt to control everyone and everything around them, the “all-controlling” manager becomes overbearing to their team, drives productivity down, and gradually loses the trust of their team members.
Theory X, Theory Y, and Micromanagement
Douglas McGregor, an American management professor with a Harvard Ph.D. in psychology, noticed of common management issues and the micromanaging phenomenon when he entered the workforce. This led him to publish The Human Side Of Enterprise in 1960., which highly contributed to the development of management and motivational theories.
In this book, Douglas described two distinct leadership styles in management based on their assumptions about human nature and behavior. These leadership styles were known as “Theory X” and “Theory Y”.
“Theory X” management believed all humans are lazy, work-avoidant, and self-centered. Workers were treated in an authoritarian, overly controlling way, as their managers believed that it was the only way to assure productivity. Does that description remind you of a certain type of manager?
“Theory Y” on the other hand, believed that people take pride in their work and have a strong drive to be self-sufficient. This approach was focused on treating employees like people and offering them more autonomy and trust; Douglas called this “scientific management”.
Nowadays, management modeled after Theory Y is achieved with employee monitoring software.
Autonomy Through Technology
It might sound paradoxical, but when this software is used correctly, it brings more harmony to the workplace and even helps detect the first signs of micromanaging.
Thanks to the data that this solution gathers, managers can get the opportunity to better understand how their employees function at work. This way, the manager can make better and more efficient adjustments that will aid the success of the whole team.
Since this software for monitoring employees gathers lots of intricate data, it can be tempting for some not to fall into micromanaging. Managers need to realize that no matter how tempting, micro-analyzing an employee’s data isn’t going to do much for their productivity, and it may even result in their distrust of the manager.
Monitoring and productivity data should be used to locate patterns and trends in work performance and to help promote a more balanced workflow – not to surveil your employees’ every move. If your managers have a good accountability system and the whole workforce makes a conscious effort to work toward more humane leadership – you’ll only reap the benefits of implementing a more data-driven approach to management.
Thanks to its easy-to-use features, you can effortlessly set up benchmarks for individual performance or a certain project to assess which employees may need additional training or extra support because their workload is overwhelming.
Employee tracking software can aid in preventing micromanaging in project management by promoting transparency. Instead of looming over the worker’s shoulders and asking for constant status reports, managers can gain real-time information about their progress without having to disrupt the employee. Transparency naturally invites openness and better, healthier communication.
OKR’s – The Goal Management Framework
Objective and Key Results is a management technique that provides employees with clear key objectives within a certain time period. Depending on the company, OKRs are usually set every month, quarter, or year. While simple, in theory, this technique is about driving desired outcomes and creating alignment.
The magic in the OKR framework is that it requires employees to direct their focus to a limited, specific number of goals. Employees who have too many responsibilities and objectives to complete become scattered, unfocused, and often anxious. When managers create an objective, it needs to be simple, clear, and easy to understand.
Ask Employees How They Want To Be Managed
To be a good manager, you also need to learn to trust your team. In order for that to happen, you need to communicate with them. If this is an area that your leadership style struggles with, there are lots of ways for you to educate and become a more effective communicator.
Different employees like to be differently managed, so sometimes, all it takes is to ask.
If managers communicate with their workers in a passive-aggressive way, especially while micromanaging, the employees are going to notice it, whether they are working onsite or remotely. As a business leader, you need to ensure effective communication with your employees. If you notice ineffective communication at the workplace, instead of punishing, try to suggest communication training, courses, unified communication solutions, etc.
With better communication among remote employees, managers can trust that their teams have everything they need to collaborate and drive productivity. Together, employees and managers can slowly eliminate the need for micromanaging and prepare for the future of work.
Another great thing about open communication and effective team management is that the good word travels fast. People want to work in a system that treats them as humans, not robots. By creating an environment that promotes more holistic practices through frequent communication and a motivating approach, you’ll be able to attract and retain top talent.
It’s about gaining insight into their work, not intrusion or surveillance.
Once you realize that research confirms that hybrid work is here to stay, there is no better moment for a business to transform its management methodology with the help of employee monitoring software and better communication techniques. In addition, leaders now have the unique opportunity to motivate and empower their workers no matter where they are, with the help of technology.
It’ll help you better organize your work, improve your collaboration, and end the practice of micromanaging.
Why Micromanaging Needs To Be Avoided
The complex job of a manager requires them to be authoritative and highly responsible while being closely involved with their team and their productivity levels. Unfortunately, leading managers who try to control every part of their team or project, do this because they feel they lack – control, power, or management knowledge. By lengthening and complicating work processes, micromanagers hurt employee morale, and the company revenue, as well as severely damage the overall performance of a team.
Here is a quick overview of the negative effects of micromanaging:
- Unhappy, unmotivated employees
- Lower trust
- Lower productivity
- Lower company revenue
- Low employee retention
- Creates a dependent staff
- Will not attract top talent
- Lower job satisfaction
If you don’t stop micromanaging right now, the low employee output, high staff turnover rates, lack of talent retention, and poor creativity can eventually cause your business to fail.
Logging employee success through monitoring data is immeasurably more fruitful than any momentary positive effect from micromanaging. It’s time to elevate employee autonomy, not diminish it.
About the Author
Vanja Zivkovic is a content writer at Insightful with a particular interest in SaaS and improving the workspace through technology and information. She was born and raised in Rotterdam, educated in Belgrade and Iowa, and is currently living and working in Belgrade. Apart from writing about technology and how it transforms the world that we live in, she enjoys poetry, learning, and traveling.
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