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Micromanaging Your Employees – Why it’s Bad and How to Stop

Ever had a problem with someone on your team? As a business owner or manager, I’m sure you have. So what did you do about it? If you’re like most managers, you tried to fix the issue yourself. But instead, you micromanaged the person until he quit or fired him.

Micromanaging Your Employees Will Destroy Your Company

Micromanaging your employees is a bad idea for several reasons. First, it’s unfair to employees without the autonomy to do what they are paid. Second, it can hamper productivity because employees will spend time meeting micromanagers’ demands instead of getting their work done.

Third, constant scrutiny from a micromanager can lead to employee stress and burnout. Fourth, it’s unsustainable because no one can keep that scrutiny forever. Fifth, because a micromanager constantly focuses on an employee, they inevitably miss other vital issues in the company. Finally, micromanaging your employees is bad for morale and creates tension between managers and subordinates.

Micromanaging often starts as a well-intentioned attempt by managers to be hands-on and help their employees grow by giving them more responsibility than they think the employee deserves. But this good intention quickly gets out of hand when managers don’t set clear boundaries or create an environment where employees feel comfortable telling their managers when they feel micromanaged.

One typical example of micromanagement happens when managers give too many tasks to an employee at once and then hover over the employee while working on them, checking in every five minutes, making her feel stressed and disorganized. This creates a hostile work environment where the employee feels like a failure no matter how hard he tries or what he does.

micromanaging employees

Managers new to management often don’t realize that not everyone learns from the same feedback style. They might be used to giving their spouse or friends immediate feedback on everything they do, but employees need more time between receiving criticism and applying it to their work to process it fully. Some people also need positive reinforcement before hearing negative feedback. Others must connect the input to their goals and personal development plan.

Don’t Micromanage. Mentor Instead!

If you want your employees to grow, give them time to process your feedback so they can act on it without feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. All of this takes more than just giving an employee feedback once per week or month if they aren’t producing enough or doing something wrong. It requires managers willing to meet with employees regularly, listen attentively, and support their employees’ growth by making subtle changes in their management style over time, eventually leading to positive reinforcement rather than micromanagement.

Common signs that you might be micromanaging your employees include:

  1. You give tasks at the last minute because you don’t trust your employees to complete them.

  2. You spend more time on an employee’s projects than they do.

  3. You tell your employees how to do their tasks to feel better even though you don’t have experience doing that particular task yourself.

  4. You criticize employees for taking breaks or not working after hours to do tasks you didn’t give them enough time to complete during the typical workday.

  5. You tell your employees how to do something rather than giving them the space and time to do it themselves.

  6. Your employees don’t feel comfortable telling you when they are overwhelmed or need help with a task because they fear becoming another task on your to-do list.

micromanaging employees

If you tend to micromanage your employees without realizing it, try taking some time away from your office for a few days every week or month that allows you to focus on other things entirely. This change of perspective will let you get all the work you need by giving your employees more responsibility and trusting that they will complete tasks on time without overstepping boundaries and protocols.

Tips to stop micromanaging employees:

  1. Let employees learn from mistakes.

  2. Allow for personal development and growth by encouraging them to try new things in the workplace and giving them feedback when they need it to improve their performance.

  3. Don’t project your insecurities onto your employees, and trust that they know how best to do their job rather than trying to be their “buddy.”

  4. Allow employees to work through problems and challenges independently without telling them what to do every step of the way.

  5. Please communicate with your employees frequently to know precisely where they stand, but don’t overdo it since too many updates can also stress employees and burn them out.

  6. Explain why you’re giving feedback and how it can help employees improve their daily work rather than just telling them what they did wrong and how much time they lost for the company.

  7. Don’t micromanage different team members differently based on who you think can handle it. Instead, treat everyone equally and with the same respect.

  8. Be open to giving your employees different types of feedback at other times, depending on where they are in their training or development process.

  9. Give your employees space and trust that they will do what’s best for the company rather than only their personality or experience.

  10. Don’t micromanage across all departments and teams. Instead, only focus on the employees who need more guidance than others and trust that other employees will get their work done without your input.

  11. Regular one-on-one meetings with your team to give them feedback while listening to their input.

  12. Allow your employees to make mistakes without punishing them, but give them enough guidance to know what not to do next time.

  13. Encourage open communication between you and your employees by ensuring that everyone’s ideas are considered equally, whether yours or not.

  14. Don’t micromanage your employees by nitpicking and addressing small, insignificant details. If nothing major is wrong with an employee’s work, don’t give them negative feedback.

  15. Hold your employees accountable for their mistakes rather than letting them off the hook simply because they didn’t realize they were breaking a rule or tasking until it was too late.

  16. Don’t micromanage your employees by asking them questions when they come to you for help or advice rather than letting them try to figure things out independently.

  17. Make sure you give your employees enough time in the morning and evening to complete their daily tasks before you start taking on new ones for them to finish.

  18. Don’t micromanage your employees by asking redundant or unnecessary questions about things they’ve already explained to you in the past. Instead, be patient and give them time to tell you all the details rather than repeatedly interrupting and asking for updates.

  19. Only jump in when an employee has a problem that needs to be fixed immediately. Then, allow them to work things out independently for a few hours before you help them if it can wait.

  20. Give your employees specific requirements and tasks to know exactly what they need to do rather than leaving it too open-ended or ambiguous. Let them complete projects without telling them how to every step of the way.

Dangers of Micromanagement:

  1. It can lead to frustration and resentment among employees.

  2. It can stifle creativity and innovation.

  3. It can cause employees to become stressed and burned out.

  4. It can make employees feel like they’re not trusted or valued.

  5. It can lead to a high turnover rate.

According to a study conducted by Leadership IQ, micromanagement can cost a company up to $14,000 per employee each year. In addition, employees who feel over-supervised tend to have a lower output and miss out on opportunities for career development since they don’t have the chance to show what they’re capable of.

micromanaging employees

Concerns about Micro-Management:

Too much supervision can lead to low employee morale and productivity. If a manager constantly looks over an employee’s shoulder, the employee will likely feel that their manager lacks confidence in them or their abilities.

Micromanagement can also lead to a lack of communication with the employees. This is because micromanaging managers often try to control what is communicated and who communicates it. Employees who feel they must “check-in” with their managers often will not know how to prioritize tasks since they do not have the autonomy to make those decisions.

Thus, micromanagement can lead to higher employee turnover. This occurs because employees will become frustrated with the lack of independence and authority, leading to an inability to do their jobs effectively. In addition, micromanagement can create an environment where employees are afraid to make mistakes. As a result, they may avoid taking risks or trying new things, stifling creativity and innovation.


Micromanaging your employees is bad for business. It can lead to low morale, productivity, and communication among employees. It can also cause high turnover rates as employees become frustrated with the lack of independence. If you’re a manager, giving your employees the autonomy to complete their tasks without constantly asking for updates or breathing down their necks is essential. Instead, trust your employees to do their jobs, and you’ll see an improvement in your business. Thanks for reading!

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