May '15

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74 • RV PRO • MAY 2015 rv-pro.com Ask yourself these important questions: • Do you ever assign a task to an employee — and then take it back when they don't do it exactly the way you would? • Are you irritated when employees make deci- sions without first consulting you? • Do you spend so much time with daily business operations – especially supervising workers – that you routinely get behind on your duties? • Is it very difficult for you to be absent from your company for a week or two without calling in every day to make decisions? If you answered yes to even two of these ques- tions, you may be a micromanager, and it is probably hurting your business, whether you realize it or not. Individuals who practice this flawed style of management prefer to think of it as a "hands-on" approach. This avoids the unflattering connotation that the term "micromanagement" has acquired. It is no doubt true that the word micromanagement is overused to the point of being hackneyed. Yet micro- management behavior — and its detrimental effects on employees — is not something to be taken lightly. What is a Micromanager? A micromanager is one who closely observes or controls the work of an employee. He or she tries to monitor, assess and correct every employee move. Does a business benefit from this style of over- sight? Rarely. Rather, the effects are mostly adverse. Creativity and problem-solving can be stifled, along with trust and openness. Communication becomes strained, mistakes increase, production suffers, growth slows, and employee turnover is above average. There are various reasons given to rationalize a micromanagement style. When a business is struggling, for example, a manager may feel pressured to control as many details as possible in an attempt avoid missed dead- lines, production errors, etc. Or, a supervisor may feel that he or she is surrounded by people with inadequate decision-making ability, even in small things. Sometimes a micromanager simply has per- sonal insecurities and tends to surround himself or herself with "yes" people who hesitate to challenge the supervisor's actions (or inactions). Yet, in the various schools of thought in the field of business management and leadership, microman- agement is overwhelmingly treated as a "fail." It is considered a poor substitute for real leadership. This is because micromanagement usually cre- ates far more problems than it solves. It has negative effects, not only on employees, but on the manager's own effectiveness. In the end, the company suffers. Adverse Effects Micromanaging sends employees the message that they cannot be trusted, and this can have a serious impact in several ways. Employees who do not feel trusted become apathetic, losing interest in their work. This directly affects their productivity. Fur- ther, employees who become apathetic or resentful can – without even trying – discourage fellow workers, even harming morale in an entire workforce. In man- agement-speak, the word for this type of apathy is disengaged – where employees put in the minimum effort necessary to get by, and no more. Micromanaged employees can become stressed, disheartened and resentful, and in a bizarre twist, a normally dependable employee may start to perform badly under the magnifying glass of micromanagement. Leanne Farady-Brash, a noted organizational consultant who holds degrees in both management and psychology from the University of Melbourne, observes, "Some people don't perform very well when someone is breathing down their neck. The scrutiny can bring about an actual decline in per- formance when a person feels so pressured about making a mistake." J. Keith Murnighan, a Northwestern Univer- sity professor at its Kellogg School of Management, notes, "People react badly to being micromanaged. If you want team members to be motivated, com- The Perils of Micromanagement It may be costing your business more than you realize. BRAD FERGUSON'S 40-year business career has been spent roughly equally on both sides of the management fence. He lives and works in Kansas City, Mo., where he is principal designer at See-More Signs Mfg.

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