Lillian Ngala

Micromanaging Will Kill Morale, Then Your Firm

Micromanaging Will Kill Morale, Then Your Firm


Nearly every leader has an inspiring story of radical, positive change in how the new world of work has changed following the Covid-19 pandemic and this calls for a self-assessment of one’s leadership style as companies begin to operate as usual again in the ‘new normal’.

Organizations are expected to adjust their style of leadership to the new normal. Instructively, the one major organizational style that is extremely detrimental in the post-pandemic era is micromanagement. The intensity of micromanagement is so extreme that it is labelled among the top three reasons why employees exit organizations.

Micromanagement, which is also referred to as the helicopter style of leadership, creates a workplace full of fear, and employees who are made to feel that their work will never be good enough lose motivation and confidence in their ability to perform.

Office Physical Space

However, managers — hence, organizations — are very quick to fix and restructure the look and feel of the office physical space. What has been forgotten is the human element — the softer side that is more important than the hard components.

We must, therefore, change our style — not just the office look. And that’s why the first leadership style that must be warded off is micromanagement.

Risk of Burnout

Team leaders who put too much emphasis on daily operational details miss the broader picture and fail to engage at a strategic level. Eventually, many micromanagers find themselves at considerable risk of burnout.

So, why are some leaders still not ready to break the cycle of micromanagement, yet we all know that autonomy empowers teams to perform highly, which ultimately translates to the bottom line of the organization?

Changing the behaviour associated with micromanagement can be a lengthy and difficult process but it is attainable. As with most problems, the first step is to realize that the behaviour needs to change and to understand how it negatively affects the organization.

Leadership, therefore, need to realize that, one, they do not need to micromanage and, two, trust and flexibility can result in more quality work.

To deal with micromanagement, take a practical approach. First, proper delegation of tasks may be the primary key to combating micromanagement behaviour. Other suggestions may include developing a vision of what the department will look like, ensuring that you are attracting the right skills for the job, developing policies and procedures and creating clear lines of communication between leaders and their team members.

Lastly, some employee errors and mistakes are an important process in the learning experience and should be viewed as a training expense.


This article first appeared in the Daily Nation on October 19, 2020

Continue reading man