The Disadvantages and Signs of Micromanagement

Have you ever wondered whether your team members think you’re a micromanager? As a small business owner I think it’s only natural to fall into that category. After all, your drive, attitude and attention to detail to build your business were key to helping your company grow and succeed. Unfortunately, there are many disadvantages to micromanagement. If you exhibit the following signs of micromanagement, consider how these habits can hold your business back and try implementing a few methods to combat those tendencies.

Signs of Micromanagement

  • Are company projects delayed waiting for your approval?
  • Do you require staff to check in throughout a standard work day?
  • Instead of letting a basic project be handled by an employee, do you insist on overseeing it?
  • Are you closed off to hearing or implementing an employee’s suggestions for improvement?
  • Do you frequently feel unsatisfied with staff’s work performance and would rather do their jobs yourself? 

If you’re still unsure if you exhibit signs of micromanagement after answering these questions, consider asking your staff for their opinion.

However, be aware that if you ask them directly, you may not get the most honest answer due to fear. Your team members may fear hurting your feelings, or may not share their honest opinion for fear of getting let go or losing their standing. 

Another option would be to provide an anonymous survey that employees can honestly answer without the fear of repercussions.

The Disadvantages of Micromanagement

  • Employee turnover.  Finding the right people can be difficult sometimes, but micromanagement can be a likely reason for excessive turnover. I’ve worked for other florists, interiorscape and garden centers where lots of employees quit in less than six months.   Faces constantly changed and you almost didn’t want to get to know new team members. In those situations, I heard people left for other companies because they never got positive feedback, felt undermined, unappreciated, constantly monitored and were never allowed any creative freedom.  Constant turnover and the need to perpetually hire and train new employees is valuable lost time that should be used for more productive and profitable tasks. 
  • Business Burnout.  If you’re in the same business for a while burnout can be a high risk, especially if you micromanage and are constantly connected. I already feel like I have so many things I need to accomplish myself that I want to run away and live off-grid in Costa Rica. Taking on those extra tasks your staff should be doing can take the risk of burnout to a different level. If you have team members that depend on the company’s success to support their lives and families, burnout out on tasks that could easily be delegated opens the door to fatigue and consequences that can quickly escalate.

How to Stop Micromanaging

Whether you identity as a micromanager or just possess some of the traits, here are some suggestions to correct this destructive behavior. 

  • Make a list of all your daily tasks and figure out which ones your staff should be able to accomplish.  Assign those tasks, and let your team members handle it. Get involved if they ask for additional guidance, but be sure to hand tasks back once your input is provided.
  • Give your senior staff the ability to make instant company decisions without waiting for your approval.  For instance, if you have an angry client that needs immediate care let your staff correct the situation by offering a discount.
  • Learn to trust your staff by giving them small projects with freedom to decide the best plan of action. 
  • Understand mistakes are always a factor and turn those circumstances into a learning experience. Think about some of the horticultural mistakes you made when first starting. You weren’t perfect either.  In the interiorscape industry, it is paramount to trust the people you hire to service accounts and run installations. Your company can only expand so much if you’re handling all the maintenance needs as well as corporate responsibilities.  

In the end, learning to let go will be good for your stress level, your employee’s happiness and the continued growth of your company.

Sherry has been part of the interiorscape industry for over fifteen years, starting at an entry level job at North Florida's largest greenhouse and currently owning two horticulture companies. At UMaine, Sherry majored in English where she worked part-time writing scripts for a local college TV studio.

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