The Pitfalls of Micromanagement
In my past I had worked in several small office settings. Many of my roles required certifications and prior experience. After 14 years of working in the field I still faced the micromanager scenario (which I found counterproductive.)
While it is understandable that an owner or manager wants to be certain that a newer employee is performing tasks the correct way, the same thought process should not be used with seasoned professionals who have a proven track record. Let me offer an example.
Scenario #1. Your top sales person for three years running lands a new client. While the owner/manager has a right to know about this new “big fish,” the seasoned sales person should not feel as if they need to “check-in” multiple time a day or even daily on a prospect that they generated. This type of micromanagement does not work with self-starters. Rather, it hinders their process and the interruptions can cause a mistake to be made.
Scenario #2. A new employee lands a new client. If as an owner/manager your experience and expertise about the business and product line can assist in making sure the customer’s needs are met, absolutely step in to assist the new employee in offering a proper sales quote. The new employee may not be aware of certain services or discounts that are offered, or they may require assistance with the system to properly input information.
Scenario #3. The seasoned employee is trusted. In this scenario, the employee with a proven track record will flourish. The simple fact that the manager/owner has faith in the ability of this employee will fuel the flame of their self-confidence and motivation. If the owner/manager wishes to set up a monthly goals meeting, that too would be completely appropriate and the seasoned employee would be happy to share accomplishments during that time. In that meeting if the goals are not met, then it can become a planning/strategy meeting where the owner/manager and sales leader can discuss ways to boost sales/revenue.
In scenario #3, not meeting goals was suggested. But please remember this individual has a proven record of accomplishment plus the years of exemplary service. This would indicate that this individual is self-motivated, loyal and has the best interest of the business in mind. If on the other had a downward trend is noticed for months-on-end (and it is not due to a global pandemic) then further action from the owner/manager may need to address this.
Synopsis: When a long-term/high performance employee is treated well and trusted that person’s performance will continue to rise; however, when the same individual is micro-managed their performance will dip because it is difficult to perform at a high level when the manager/owner wants to control every aspect of the business.
Think of it this way. You are at an airport getting ready to board the plane and the Pilot is standing behind the counter checking your boarding pass. After checking all the passes, the Pilot then boards the plane. As you make the walk down the boarding bridge you see the same Pilot welcoming you to the flight. After you are seated, the Pilot takes your drink order. At this point you must be thinking, well, that’s nice… but who is going to fly the plane? This example can go on to the mechanics of the plane and serving in-flight meals, but I’m sure you get the point. While every ship needs a captain, and every flight needs a pilot, they also require a trusted crew to make sure that the flight will run smoothly. If the Pilot is tasked with every job on the flight this will end in failure. But, if that same Pilot trusts the mechanics, flight attendants, etcetera, the flight will run smoothly and the passengers will have faith in the ability of all involved.
The moral is this, a strong leader knows to trust their crew and if there is a weak link, that link should be coached and if the coaching does not help then you can eliminate the person from the team knowing that it was not a good fit on either side. But remember, just because that one person was not self-motivated, was unable to consistently meet their goals or spent all day on their phone watching TikTok videos, it does not mean that all of the employees should be treated as if they also behave in a similar manner. The one size fits all philosophy does not work in business when you have varied roles in your office.
My advice is this, take a step back and ask yourself why you hired these individuals in the first place. Did you need a warm body to fill a seat or was it because you felt they were up to the task of succeeding? If you believed in them, then test the method, you may find that employee satisfaction increases as well as your company’s revenue. This can be a win-win situation for your staff, customers and financials of the business.