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Hell Hath No Fury Like a Micromanaged Workforce
Are you a micromanager? "Who me? No of course not. I'm thorough. I'm competent. Ok, so I am a little methodical. That's not bad. Is it?"
Micromanagers like many addicts, alcoholics, rageaholics, fanatics, etc. are the last person on the planet to recognize their addiction is in controlling others. The compulsion to look over your employee's shoulders has nothing to do with being meticulous or careful it has everything to do with control. Yes you. That's right I'm talking to you El Presidente. Your employees are calling you much worse. For example, ruler, extremist, bureaucrat, tyrant, bully, persecutor, tormenter. And trust me, those are the nice names. People who micromanage do so because they are the ones who feel unsure and self-doubting.
Ask yourself this. How badly do you long for more controlling people in your life? Then doesn't it stand to reason, if you aren't dying to bring in more oppressive autocrats into your life, then what makes you think that your employees are dying to have you in their life?
So you ask "Well if I am so controlling, why is it that no one has ever mentioned it to me?" The answer is . . . they are afraid of you. Try telling a dictatorial boss to stop micromanaging you, and plan on looking for a new job the next day.
Years ago, I gave a speech in front of 400 people. When the evaluations came back, 399 of them were rave reviews. One man rated me "average". The conference coordinator said she recognized the man's handwriting and told me that I should be comforted by knowing he rates every speaker poorly, and for him to give me an "average" was actually a good thing. Years later I have trouble remembering the 399 excellent reviews I received, but I will never forget the one average. Micromanaging is all about letting people know how they are doing it wrong. From your perspective as a micromanager I am sure you justify your behavior by saying "no, I am simply teaching people how to do it the right way". Read your way. But I assure you that most employees see it as negative feedback.
What if you aren't sure if you are a micromanager? If you are even pondering the question for a minute, you probably are.
HOW DO I CHANGE?
"So who cares if I micromanage? It works doesn't it?" Studies have shown that in fact putting fear into people at work does have an impact. It does increase productivity. However it increases productivity temporarily. Then you face dire long-term consequences. Eventually employees will sabotage. And most importantly, people are so afraid of your constant criticism that they no longer take risks. Creativity dries up. Customer service goes down the drain. When people are frustrated with supervisors they take it out on customers.
They are looking for jobs behind your back. If you are truly efficient then you should know that constantly re-hiring and training new workers is as inefficient as it gets.
Additionally, you are not seeing the big picture because you are so busy dictating font size & controlling everyone else's moves that the big picture totally escapes you. You are not getting your own job completed because you are doing everyone else's job. You are loosing the respect of coworkers & employees. When workers don't respect their boss, you loose, the customer losses, the company looses.
So after admitting you have the problem. After analyzing what exactly you do that is micromanaging behavior . . .
Make it to their benefit to point out your micromanage ways. These habits will not be broken with just you monitoring. Tell them that you want to stop your controlling behavior and that they have your permission and encouragement to tell you when you are micromanaging and that you will listen with grace and not punish them for it. Make suggestions with humor. For example…"Ok gang, I know I have been the boss from the Dilbert cartoon… but from here on out every time one of you says " Hey Charlie there you go micromanaging again," I won't get defensive. I won't justify my behavior. I have to put $5.00 in the jar. Or try saying "if you can point out to me three times that I micromanage in a month you get a dinner-for-two on the boss."
One day you might be the one applying for a job and someone you are micromanaging now will be sitting in the supervisory seat tomorrow. You seldom get to be the boss forever.