Destruction in the workplace: The dangers of micromanaging

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Updated Feb 7, 2024

micromanagingWhen it comes to work, nothing kills drive and ambition more than a helicopter boss lurking over your shoulder at all hours of the day.

For those unaware of what this means, we’re talking about micromanagers. Micromanaging is one of the most detrimental habits authority figures in the green industry can have because it creates an environment of distrust, stress, and over-dependence.

Dangers of micromanaging

At first, it may seem like associating the word “danger” with micromanaging is a bit of an overstatement, but when you stop to give it some thought, is it really?

According to the Forbes Coaches Council, “Groups that adapt to a micromanagement style are either quietly rebellious or hapless, unable to make any independent decisions.”

This can get crews bogged down and unable to perform at maximum capacity, and it can breed resentment in the company and cause bigger problems down the road. And as the leader of your landscaping company, it can leave you constantly having to fix problems instead of focusing on the tasks that only you can perform.

Micromanaging can also create a staff full of employees who aren’t confident in any choice or decision they make, which can cause you to have to redo work more times than you’d like to. This kind of work environment also takes away a person’s ability to deal with and take responsibility for their own mistakes, which will stunt their career and personal growth very quickly.

The goal of a leader is to inspire, educate, and train employees to succeed, but the tendency of a manager is to take control and get the job done. As a leader, your job is to propel people to be their best selves and to offer them as many opportunities to excel as possible.

Being able to find the balance is the most important aspect of being in a leadership role.

Signs of a micromanager

While every person is different, there are a few tell-tale signs that indicate a person is a micromanager.

Most who are classified as a micromanager don’t even know that they are one, and more than likely no one will tell them outright. According to the Harvard Business Review, the following are some of the most common signs of micromanaging:

  • Never quite being satisfied with deliverables
  • Often feeling frustrated because you would’ve gone about the task differently
  • Focusing in on the details and taking great pride and/or pain in making corrections
  • Constantly wanting to know where all your team members are and what they’re working on
  • Asking for frequent updates on where things stand
  • Preferring to be cc’d on emails

For more signs of a micromanager, click here.

Don’t misunderstand and think that being organized, detail-oriented, and on top of work is a negative trait. With the daily stresses that come along with being in charge of your landscaping business, it’s easy to sometimes take the reins and get the job done quickly instead of taking time to teach. But at some point, it’s important to realize that the saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” doesn’t always yield the best team-building results.

Fixing the issue

Whether you are a micromanager or you work for one, there are a few steps the Forbes Coaches Council and the Harvard Business Review suggest to help overcome this issue.

Take a look at yourself. The first step to shutting down micromanaging is to take a look in the mirror and see if you are indeed falling victim to the disease known as micromanaging. If you find that you match this description, ask yourself why you feel the need to be involved in everything all of the time. Many who tend to gravitate toward micromanaging do so because they think no one else can do the job as well as they can. There are many excuses as to why a person may think this, but the best way to get past it is to just get over yourself.

Let it go. Take a page from Disney’s book and just let it go. Managers can easily be in charge and keep things running without crossing over into the territory of micromanaging. Stepping back and giving someone else the reins can be difficult but trying it a little bit at a time can make it easier. Take a look at what all needs to be done in the day and find tasks that you think you can safely pass on to others on your team. Take stock of the rest of the list and make a note of which things you need to spend the most energy on.

Tell the “what,” not the “how.” You may have a clear idea of what the end result of a project should be, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t try to impose your final idea on those who will be doing the project. Tell your employees what the project is, what your hopes and expectations are for it, and then leave it at that. Leave room for open discussion, creativity, and flexibility, and you may be surprised at what can come from it.

Positive and encouraging. Many people who find themselves micromanaging have an underlying fear of failure. The irony of this is that by micromanaging employees, you’re engaging them in “learned helplessness,” which the Harvard Business Review says will lead them to think they are only able to succeed as long as you are micromanaging them. To combat this, be sure to give employees all of the information, resources, and support they will need to complete a task to the best of their abilities. And even if they happen to fail once in a while, it all works out to be a valuable learning experience for everyone involved.

For more tips on conquering micromanaging, click here.

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