Pros and Cons of Micromanagement
Pros and Cons of Micromanagement

Pros and Cons of Micromanagement

People leave managers, not companies.

Managers account for 70% of variance in employee engagement (Gallup). Great managers help employees reach their full potential; bad managers hold their employees back.

One of the most common complaints employees have of managers (and there are a lot) is being micromanaged. Instead of trusting an employee to do a job, a micromanager tries to control every moment of their employee’s day by constantly offering “feedback” on how they can improve.

And though it’s a common complaint, you won’t meet many managers admitting to being micromanagers. The reason is simple—what employees see as micromanagement, micromanagers see as diligence, excellence or even just being supportive. Someone needs to make sure things get done right, they might argue. For them, it’s not micromanagement—it’s just management.

The Pros and Cons of Micromanagement

Pro: At Least They Care

While working under a micromanager can be frustrating, consider the opposite scenario: a manager who offers no direction, support or feedback. A hands-off manager can be equally tough to deal with, if not worse. With a micromanager, at least you know that they will be there whenever you have a problem and that they do care about the work.

Pro: The Freedom to Make Mistakes

It feels great to be trusted with a big project and given the freedom to do your best work. In the best case scenario, we rise to the challenge. However, knowing that there’s nobody looking over your shoulder can lead to a conservative, error-avoidance approach. In some ways, a micromanager may give employees more freedom to experiment and be creative.

Pro: Peace of Mind

From a manager’s perspective, micromanaging provides a kind of security, reassurance that work is getting done. It’s this need for security that prompts people to micromanage in the first place.

Cons: Wasted Time

At its worst, micromanaging means two people doing one job. For a manager, their time could be spent leading rather than supervising. But it also wastes time for an employee—rather than focusing on their job, they’re forced to constantly explain and re-explain themselves and their work. This hurts productivity, eating into a company’s profit margins.

Cons: Employee Resentment

Being micromanaged doesn’t just waste time—it’s also stressful, irritating and an all-round killer for employee engagement. Without trust and a feeling of ownership over one’s work, it’s impossible for an employee to truly thrive and develop. While a little micromanagement may be normal or necessary during an employee’s onboarding process, if it carries on too long, it’s a one way ticket to frustration and dissatisfaction.

Cons: Increased Staff Turnover

Employee dissatisfaction caused by micromanagement will inevitably lead to higher staff turnover which—especially in this historically tight labor market—is a hassle (and expense) you really don’t need. Consider that it costs $4,291 to replace a $10 per hour retail employee, according to Paycor research, and way more for high-skilled positions. Micromanagement isn’t just an irritation—it hurts companies’ bottom lines.

Cons: Unhealthy Anxiety

At the end of the day, a micromanager is likely someone who finds it difficult to trust their employees. Their anxiety about relinquishing control hurts the success of their company—but it’s also just not healthy. To worry about every move an employee makes is not only stressful, it’s unsustainable. A far better approach is to invest in employees’ learning and development, to ensure they are qualified and suited for whatever tasks they are required to complete, no matter how challenging.

How to Overcome Micromanagement

Nobody said management was easy. It comes naturally to only around 1 in 10 of us, according the Gallup research—everyone else has something to learn. Trusting employees can be hard for anybody, and part of overcoming micromanagement means being willing to accept occasional mistakes—without the freedom to fail, employees will never develop. Of course, the challenge is to allow this while also being wary of going too far in the other direction, leaving employees isolated and without support thanks to ‘under-management’.

At the end of the day, a hands-on management style can be incredibly effective, but micromanagement is never healthy. If an employee needs to be micromanaged, they probably aren’t right for your company.

If you have micromanagers at your company, you may want to challenge them to become leaders. Paycor can help: read our expert advice on transforming managers into leaders.


Paycor guided hr software tour

More to Discover

Webinar: Vaccination Policy: What HR Leaders Need to Know - 2/9 @11AM ET

Webinar: Vaccination Policy: What HR Leaders Need to Know - 2/9 @11AM ET

With the vaccine rollout underway, it’s critical for HR leaders to know the impact to their organization. Join Paycor and the team from Constangy Brooks, Smith & Prophete for a webinar where we will cover employment issues related to the COVID-19 vaccine(s).Our presenters will cover: • How employers should think about structuring their vaccination policies • The impact of the vaccine rollout on employee safety • Reviewing the legal aspects of vaccine policies and the impact these policies will have on organizationsSpeakers: Lori Mans and Jonathan Yarbrough Partners with Constangy Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLPLori's primary focus of her law practice involves representing management in state and federal court employment litigation....

Webinar: Courageous Leadership During Challenging Times - 2/25 @2pm ET

Webinar: Courageous Leadership During Challenging Times - 2/25 @2pm ET

As a leader during these unprecedented times, you have been consistent and resilient. 2020 brought more than a virus to the world; it brought the challenge of isolation to many leaders supporting team members, families, and an extended network while adjusting to a new normal. Whether you are meeting significant goals or engaging in community work, you show up every day bringing creativity, insight and discipline to your team. But, how much are you investing in the care of your leadership so that you can lead others well? In this webinar, we will gather to discuss avoiding burnout, what it means to practice self-leadership and all the ways leaders can share resources and lift each other. Leadership is a journey that you do not have to...

Webinar: Virtual Demo: Workforce Management Solutions - 2/10 @1pm ET

Webinar: Virtual Demo: Workforce Management Solutions - 2/10 @1pm ET

Paycor’s human capital management software modernizes every aspect of people management, from the way you recruit, onboard and develop people, to the way you pay them, retain them and build a company culture. With a single source of truth for all employee data, you’ll never have to switch platforms, log-in to multiple systems, re-key information or open multiple spreadsheets. In this live virtual demo, our product experts will highlight Paycor’s Workforce Management Solutions, including Payroll, Time and Scheduling. Discover how HR Leaders can optimize productivity, track labor costs, confidently pay employees and ensure you have the right coverage when you need it. Speakers: Kim Saldana and Kyle Baker

Getting a Handle on Employee Absenteeism in Manufacturing

Getting a Handle on Employee Absenteeism in Manufacturing

Absent employees represent a significant cost to any business, but it poses a particular problem for manufacturers. In factories, employees fill more specialized and skilled positions that play key roles in the manufacturing process. An absent employee may not only impact his or her immediate function but every other function downstream in the process. Some experts estimate employee absenteeism can cost the U.S. manufacturing industry $3 billion every year in lost productivity.Common Causes of Staff Absenteeism Many factors can have an impact on employee attendance but some of the more common causes include: Illnesses or injuries Stress and depression Low morale, disengagement or general job burnout Caring for a sick child or elderly...