Micro-management

  • Do you have doubts about the skills of your staff?
  • Do you spend a lot of time reporting and monitoring?
  • Do you regard adherence to schedules as a matter of principle?
  • Do you prefer to delegate tasks rather than assignments?

Perfectionist, reporting freak, difficulty delegating… all traits that resemble you or the managers you work with on a daily basis?

Careful, we’re approaching the dark side of management!

Don’t panic, it can be treated.

– To validate the syndrome, you can use the Assess Manager test, which details a manager’s managerial and behavioural skills. It’s a good way of identifying areas for improvement.

– If the syndrome is confirmed and recognised by the “micro-manager”, go straight on to the next stage

Generally speaking, micro-management is characterised by obsessive attention to detail and meticulous control of the actions of every employee. This rather unproductive practice is reflected in a number of behaviours:

The micro-manager constantly doubts the skills of his employees

He thinks they are not up to the job and knows how to remind them: far from showing recognition for their work, he points out what is not going well by focusing on details.

The remedy: create a bond of trust and provide constructive feedback

Without lowering their standards, managers can learn to distinguish between what is expected of an employee and unimportant details that do not merit a Zoom in with the latest technology.

Furthermore, in the event of an obvious error, the form in which the message is conveyed will be essential if the message is to provoke positive action rather than provoke anger. If the form is inappropriate, the employee will remember the form more than the content, as the manager who “fails” in his message gives the employee the opportunity to escape from the problem.

Micro-managers are often fanatical about reporting and control

They think that this is the only way to check that their colleagues are not going off track. They view any new way of doing things with suspicion, denying their staff any room for freedom and creativity. Validate, yes. Put the brakes on, beware. It’s all a question of conscience and timing.

The risk: employees who are reluctant to take the initiative may gradually become demotivated, robotic, or even lose all motivation for their work

The remedy: open up initiative-taking, which can be a vector for progress, by admitting mistakes along the way. Follow rather than control, support rather than power.

Taking risks is part of the game, especially when it comes to managing people. Managing implies knowing how to detach oneself from the field in order to take a step back from situations and consider them as a whole.

This is not an easy exercise for the micro-manager, but it all takes practice. Start by letting go of non-strategic issues. Ultimately, the aim is to empower employees to stimulate motivation, and therefore efficiency.

The micro-manager is obsessed with strict adherence to schedules

Time and attendance” management is a method that was appropriate in the days of Fordism, when the pace was set by machines. In a world that is becoming increasingly tertiary, this model is largely outdated… Long working days no longer rhyme with involvement. Every hour taken out of working time for personal reasons has to be scrupulously made up, at the risk of leaving the door open to every kind of freedom.

There’s only one question to ask: if the micro-manager can’t be flexible with his employees, why should they be flexible with the company?

The remedy: inject flexibility into the organisation and set objectives.

Agree to lose ‘visual’ control of your staff in favour of greater flexibility and comfort at work: why not experiment with flexible working hours or teleworking, for example?

As well as saving time and fatigue, this flexibility has an important psychological dimension: it gives employees a sense of autonomy that makes them feel valued and motivated in their work. For this model to work, SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound) objectives need to be set.

The micro-manager can’t delegate tasks with responsibilities

Delegating … of course … is the key to good management! Yes, but in the end, the micro-manager is more often a specialist in the task delegated than in the mission, even towards competent employees… As a result, competent employees feel infantilised, their skills unrecognised, etc. Those who stay with the company will be the least autonomous, in tune with the way things work.

The remedy: adapt delegation methods according to the level of motivation and skills of employees.

Understand those who are reluctant to take on an assignment or task in order to identify solutions (directive management, change of assignment, skills assessment, etc.); define objectives for people who are better able to carry out an assignment and plan appropriate feedback periods.

Here are a few simple tips full of common sense.

You can also choose the right support: management training or coaching. Our national network of professional coaches and management trainers (certified in the Assess Manager test) is also available to help you identify the most appropriate type of support and implement it. The training topics on offer are detailed here for illustrative purposes.

To go further with Assess Manager