You have probably heard the “If you want something done right – you do it yourself” adagio times and times again. You agree and when you hire help you tend to tell in every little detail how stuff should be done, because that’s exactly how you would do it. You did it thousands of times, so it should be perfect, right? Wrong!
There’s hardly any other way of management as ineffective and destructive as micromanagement. Sometimes a complete absence of management would do better. Imagine you micromanage a group of 3 people, whom you tend to micromanage. That’s basically doing their jobs together with them. So if each one of them has a standard 40 hour work week that alone is going to 120 hours a week. Add your own responsibilities which should add up to another 40 hours per week and you arrive at 160 hours per week. Which leaves you precisely 8 hours per week to sleep, eat and have a life. The math is amazing, isn’t it?
Aside from this obvious exaggeration there are more issues with micromanagement than you might think. Once you’re comfortably sure none of your employees can make a single step without consulting with you, you can be sure you will get nagged every 5 minutes with requests to validate everyone’s output and the inevitable “Done, now what?”. That is, of course, if your employees won’t “forget” to ask than to have a few precious minutes without that authoritarian “What are you working on now?” questioning.
This constant nagging leaves you no chance to concentrate on your own work that you do as their manager or supervisor – acquiring new tasks, planning, measuring risks and so on, every single moment of your time will be devoted to distributing tasks, controlling the process and validating the output. This will also lead to huge waste, justified by “He didn’t tell me what to do, so I’m doing nothing”. True, why do anything at all if all you hear back is “Did I tell you to do that?”
Micromanagement creates no incentive to work efficiently, given the amount of waste obvious to any one with a bit of common sense. It creates a stressful work environment for both the employer and employee. It hurts productivity from multiple angles and creates an almost Orwellian state of mind as you are being watched and told what to do almost every minute. Yet, many of small business owners tend to implement this kind of management style, because they just know how to do it right. They did it a thousand times over, so they should know better. Right?