Bosses criticised for Micromanaging staff

‘Stop micro managing me!’ Is fast becoming the refrain of unhappy employees. How many managers will have faced criticism about micromanaging staff in recent months? A significant number I expect, but is it ever acceptable to micromanage your staff?

There are articles that talk of managers’ duty to give clear responsibility to their employees and clearly step back from any sort of micromanagement.

Micromanagement is not fashionable. It suggests an outdated style of management and managers who have not yet learnt to delegate responsibility and to then step back to allow their employee to deliver.

This is really dangerous, though.

Managers should always feel that they can step in and micromanage when necessary and that they should not feel they have to defend themselves or face criticism for doing so. That said, constant daily micromanagement when it’s not necessary (i.e. there are no issues with performance, productivity etc.) is a sure way to send employees packing.

Everywhere I go, I meet organisations that say that their managers do not manage the individual performance of their staff well. Often it has been identified that this is down to both the competence (knowledge and skills) and confidence of managers.

My business provides training for supervisors and managers, in how to effectively manage staff performance and over 18 years I have been delighted to see our delegates develop their skills and confidence around managing staff issues. It’s so rewarding and so enormously important for organisations.

But I am increasingly irritated when I discover that the new found confidence of our delegates is being undermined by those who say micromanagement is a poor and outdated management practice. And often this allegation is hurled at managers by their own staff, after hearing organisational statements around empowerment and personal accountability.

Daily micromanagement of all staff absolutely not be necessary. I fully agree with that. In an organisation that delegates responsibilities and promotes personal accountability, micromanagement should be the exception, not the norm. However, when it is needed in order to raise standards, address quality issues, increase productivity etc. no manager should ever feel that they cannot, or should not, be micromanaging their employees. In fact not to do so, is neglecting their duty to ensure all members of their team are operating effectively and efficiently.

Micromanagement, when necessary, is an absolute organisational requirement and managers should be told this and praised for when they do step in to manage individuals closely.

Accusing their manager of micromanagement is an employee’s way of diverting attention away from their own poor performance back on to their manager. It is a convenient way of escaping the uncomfortable reality of inadequate performance and lack of personal accountability.

So, I urge you not to allow employees in your organisation to criticise your managers in this way. I also urge you to reassure managers of your support and your understanding of the importance of micromanagement when circumstances require it.

Stand up for your right to manage the detail, maintain the standards and operate in whatever way is possible to deliver results and operate successfully. Don’t listen to those who say that micro management is a weakness, not a strength. Taking the time to closely manage and develop your staff is something that should be applauded not criticised and managers who have the courage to tackle difficult, work shy, or otherwise underperforming staff should be praised from the rooftops.

Any ideas, opinions, thoughts all welcomed as always… please leave your comments in the box below.

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The information contained within this article is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of employment and associated law and employee relations issues as at the date of publication. Jaluch Limited, or any of its directors or employees, cannot be held responsible for any action or inaction taken in reliance upon the contents. Specific advice should be sought on all individuals matters.

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