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5 Reasons Business Owners Shouldn’t Micromanage Employees


Many business owners are control freaks. And it’s easy to see why. After all, business owners must be highly organized, driven, and motivated individuals. Typically, people with those personality traits also like to take control of situations. While there’s nothing wrong with adopting a hands-on approach to business leadership, it’s not a good idea to micromanage employees. (There’s a big difference between offering support and needlessly interceding.) Here, we’ll explain five reasons why professionals should avoid micromanagement, and what you can do to become a better leader at the same time: 

#1 It Stifles Creativity

No one performs at their best when they’re being observed intently by an authority figure. It’s a bit like being asked to tell a joke on the spot. Even if you are a funny person, it’s going to be difficult to conjure something up out of nothing. In the same vein, business owners need to recognize that the creative process can’t be managed too closely. Sometimes professionals need to have downtime to consider a problem before they arrive at a solution. Constantly checking in on employees will stifle their creativity and encourage the most expedient –– not effective –– output. 

#2 It Prevents Development

Of course, bosses can lend a helping hand when an employee gets stuck. However, if you’re always hovering over an employee’s desk, then they’re going to struggle to learn things on their own. Rather than spoon-feeding your team solutions, allow them to explore custom elearning development resources. This way, they can grow and improve as professionals independently.

#3 It’s Unsustainable

Building a successful business is not easy. That much is a given. However, it’s virtually impossible to nurture a company if you’re spending most of your time observing your team. Conversely, business owners who hire capable team members and trust them to do a good job can focus on the bigger picture and make cogent plans for the future.  


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#4 It Hurts Morale

To the surprise of no one, research suggests that employees hate being micromanaged. Not only does micromanagement potentially damage productivity, but it will almost certainly upset employee morale. Naturally, when talented professionals are unhappy, they tend to look for new career opportunities. As such, it’s imperative that new business owners resist the urge to micromanage their team. Otherwise, they could be faced with a major employee retention problem. 

#5 It’s Not Productive

Micromanagement is not an effective leadership style. When business leaders try to micromanage every aspect of a company, burnout is sure to follow. What’s worse is that sometimes business owners can get too involved in the minutiae of a project and make poor decisions. Instead of stepping on your employees’ toes, give them the space and autonomy they need to deliver effective results. By simply taking a step back, business leaders can give their company a big lift moving forward. 

Sean Jacobson

I'm Sean, a former HR and business consultant providing you insights into the business world for Leader to Leader.

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