Avoid Micromanagement: Think Strategically

What is micromanagement?

By definition, the verb “micromanage” means to “direct or control in a detailed, often meddlesome manner.” The practice makes sense in certain contexts, but most insurance organizations don’t need a Steve Jobs-style overseer. As many observers have reported over the years, micromanagement negatively affects employee health and motivation, and depresses productivity because managers end up spending a lot of time reviewing work that’s already been completed and, in most cases, didn’t directly involve them in the first place.

man sipping coffee cup

Recognizing talent micromanagement

Sometimes, micromanagers don’t even realize they’re micromanaging. It’s understandable that managers want to achieve high quality results for their company, but certain habits like sitting in on every meeting and being copied on every email are proven signs of a harmful micromanager. In fact, because micromanagement specifically involves picking apart the minutiae of employees’ work, a manager that appears to work long and hard might not be as effective as they seem.

man eating burger

Why does anyone micromanage talent?

The two primary causes of micromanagement are anxiety and insecurity. Managers often worry about getting disconnected from company operations and are very reluctant to let go of their familiar roles as decision-makers. But it isn’t always about power. Micromanagers can have good intentions too. They may want remain level with their subordinates or simply ensure that complicated tasks are completed correctly. But regardless of their reasons, micromanagers create stress both for themselves and their teams, and that kind of leadership only leads to poor performance.

Micromanagement might be appropriate in some isolated instances, but beyond a certain point, data and performance analysis and re-analysis becomes a waste of time and resources. If you hired people to do this work, you might want to trust their judgment and coach them rather than trying to do their work for them. Take a step back and remember that strategy trumps ground-level operations at the end of the day.

woman says "get off my back"

Moving beyond micromanagement

Since this habit often stems from stress and overwork, try to create a more easygoing culture by allowing your teams to think strategically.

  • Do they need leaner processes, automation tools, or other solutions that will provide a capacity lift?
  • Do they need more streamlined training programs to ensure everyone has the tools they need to do their work?
  • Do they need to break down silos between sales and service to better accomplish organizational goals?

If these questions speak to you, let’s talk.