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Why Micromanagement of Remote Workers Kills Employee Productivity

October 27, 2022
Wes Mitchell-Lewis
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People don’t quit their jobs, they quit their managers.

We’ve been hearing this statement for years, and it holds up. Ultimately, people want to work for a manager who values their contributions, supports their efforts, and helps them accomplish their career goals. A manager does not need to be best friends with their employees, but they should want to be a real person who understands that their workers have different needs and requirements at different times.

56% of employees would turn down a 10% increase in salary to stay with a great boss.

It can be tempting to track what your teams are working on when they are not in the office. After all, at many companies, working from home has traditionally been equated with playing hooky. But micromanaging is a surefire way to frustrate employees and send them running.

Try these strategies to get yourself to trust your employees –

  • Ask How Your Employees Want To Be Managed: Confident leaders will regularly seek input from their workers on how they would like to keep up to date on everything. Simply asking, “How often would you like me to check in?” or “How would you like me to hold you accountable?” will help to establish trust and autonomy. It will also help you learn how to work with those employees effectively.
  • Adopt A Fail-Forward Attitude: Leaders like yourself tend to be high achievers, and that often comes with a perfectionist streak. Perfectionism is often what compels leaders to micromanage in the first place. Allow your team to learn through failure and openly discuss lessons learned. This can be done on an individual basis or as a group when the project is applicable across the department.
  • Be A Facilitator, Not A Taskmaster. If you manage expectations instead of tasks, employees will know what they need to deliver without being given a laundry list of chores. Let your team know they can come to you with problems or questions and keep your inquiries to a minimum. This allows them the freedom and opportunity to figure out how to create solutions that will be much more satisfactory for them.
  • Trust Your Team. Sometimes micromanagement is born of trust issues. If you’re prone to micromanagement, try giving your teams more responsibility than you’re comfortable with. Chances are, you’ll be surprised and delighted by how well your teams execute their goals and deliver results. Think back to when you were coming up through the ranks and how you wanted to prove yourself to your bosses – they want the same thing.
  • Get Your Managers To Do The Same. Encourage your mid-level managers at your company to trust their direct reports and give them the autonomy to thrive. Management style can have a huge impact on retention, so give your managers the training and tools they need to empower their workers.

Trust will be your biggest ally, but also the hardest thing to earn. People know when their bosses do not trust them and productivity dives, retention rates plummet, and culture declines. This will make your company a place where no one wants to work. Trust your team to lead you forward, and as their manager, kick down every roadblock in their way.


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