What Is Micromanaging?

Micromanaging – or micromanagement – is a type of management style that often has a negative connotation.

Micromanaging refers to a situation where a manager or superior very closely supervises (and/or controls) what an employee does, how they do it, and when they do it.

Managers who adopt this style often have issues with the ability to delegate, and they often produce overly detailed reports that don’t have that much bearing on employee output.

The Advantages & Disadvantages of Micromanaging Employees

Generally speaking, there are more negatives to micromanagement than there are positives, but let’s look at a few advantages.

Advantages of Micromanagement

Team members can see you care. When a manager spends a lot of time looking into the work that an employee does, some people may take this to mean that the manager cares. This is especially true of newer staff and those who don’t have as much experience.

It can lead to increased freedom within your team. This sounds counterintuitive, but it has been documented in some cases. Freedom at work can be great, but it can also lead to an error-avoidance approach. Sometimes – but not always – having someone micromanaging an employee can lead to freedom and a willingness to experiment.

It can offer peace of mind. For those who need security and reassurance, the persistent nature of micromanaging can be a positive thing.

Disadvantages of Micromanagement

It can increase anxiety. As mentioned earlier, managers who micromanage tend to not fully trust their employees. This can lead to increased anxiety – not only for the employee but the managers themselves – and it’s simply not scalable or sustainable.

It can increase staff turnover. By and large, most team members will not respond well to micromanagement. This increases staff turnover – and increased staff turnover hurts a business’s bottom line. It breeds resentment on all sides.

It leads to wasted time. One of the most significant disadvantages of micromanaging is wasted time. When you think about it, you essentially have two people doing the work of one. In addition, the employee continually has to justify their work and explain themselves. This can destroy productivity, which eats into a company’s bottom line.


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