Micromanaging is the act of trying to control every aspect of an activity, and by doing this you could very well be damaging your workforce and the wider business performance.

Whilst we all feel compelled to monitor the behaviours and activities of our employees, it’s important to establish trust and understanding with them too. Micromanaging is recognised as one of the key drivers for resignation and high staff turnover, resulting in higher recruitment costs to your business and the possibility of gaining a poor reputation within your industry. Micromanaging can also kerb creativity and hurt performance, due to the frustration and disempowerment of the employees.

Consider the 95-95 rule

Many managers micromanage due to perfectionism - however, in this sense of the word, the connotations are negative. This stems from failing to believe that anyone else can do the job as well as they can, and as a result, they are never satisfied and will often reflect this onto their employees. The 95-95 rule encourages managers to accept 95 per cent of perfect performance, 95 per cent of the time and as a result, they will micromanage 95 per cent less.

Trust leads to empowerment

Empowering employees can be one of the best things that a company can do. This is often achieved by delegating responsibilities, setting deadlines and being sure not to distract staff with micromanagement activities.

Where trust is blatantly absent, employees will often push back and moods will rapidly decline. For instance, employees are likely to feel ‘hunted’ where every action is under a microscope and this, in turn, leads to a creative block and dissatisfaction. Watching every move that your employees make will have negative connotations and that feeling of constant surveillance will reduce the likelihood of growth within your workforce.

Placing the trust in employees to complete their work and adapt to a more flexible approach will ensure that your employees take the onus for their actions and are, in fact, more likely to work harder. However, by trying to control and monitor every employee action, you will likely end up pushing your best people away.

Don’t be a spy

Privacy is a big deal, and invading the privacy of your employees can result in serious repercussions for your business. Many employees who are subjected to draconian-style environments, where managerial concepts include monitoring emails, chat content, email and document activity, are likely to disagree with this approach unless there is a highly legitimate reason behind it.

Any type of monitoring activity should not be taken likely and should be fully justified in the approach. Flippant implementation of software that appears to spy or watch staff actions constantly could be seen as a huge breach of trust, break down employee morale and push some to seek alternative opportunities in more forward-thinking businesses.

Time wasting

Finally, micromanaging is above all inefficient and costs the business money and resource. Time spent by managers on micromanaging activities, such as combing through individuals internet history is overall unproductive and a waste of time.

Managers should ask themselves, is the work getting done and is the quality of the standard expected? If yes, then managers should aim to push for continued positive output, build further trust and reward for great work. This will maintain high levels of morale and should help to retain your best people.

If the answer is no, then management should look to more creative ways to boost the capability of their teams, such as workplace training, restructuring, delegation and other less invasive methodologies for ensuring they are getting the best out of their team.