Are you stressed? Micromanaging makes it worse!

Have you ever found yourself continuously anxious at work – feeling like you constantly ask your team members for progress updates, have the need to be a part of every meeting and every email, or feel you need to do everything yourself for fear it won’t be done correctly? You probably think it is because you are a control freak or an extremely hands-on leader. However, in reality, you could be experiencing work-related stress resulting in micromanaging your employees. While you are responsible for your staff, you have a well-chosen group of employees for good reason – to help you and to assist in making sure your organization runs smoothly. While it may be hard to admit, over-controlling the process is most likely limiting the growth of your team and yourself. What can you do to limit stress and step back from micromanaging?

Read further to see how micromanaging is impacting your team and how you can alleviate some of the stress:

How micromanaging effects your team:

1: Micromanaging can kill creativity. Creativity drives innovative ideas and your company’s success can rely on your employee’s ability to conceive and share these new ideas. If you are micromanaging your employees they may feel they no longer have the freedom to propose new ideas and they’ll give up being creative all together. Listen to your employees and let them share their ideas and input.


2: You might just drive employees out the door. Micromanaging every little thing sends the message that you don’t trust your employees to perform their duties on their own. An American Psychological Association study found that people performed at lower levels if they were being excessively monitored. You do not want to drive away great employees who feel untrusted, unheard, and unappreciated because of your micromanaging. Let your team focus on their designated work while you shift focus back to your priorities. Take a step back, your employees will come to you if they need additional direction.


3: You could be harming the health of your employees. Erik Gonzalez-Mule, lead author in a seven year experiment on workers stated, “Stressful jobs have clear negative consequences for employee health when paired with low freedom in decision making,” however, “stressful jobs can be beneficial to employee health if also paired with freedom in decision making.” Johnathan D. Quick, Harvard Medical School instructor and coauthor of Preventive Stress Management in Organizations, states that “the leadership qualities of ‘bad’ bosses over time exert a heavy toll on employees’ health.” This has linked negative health effects such as risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, chronic stress, and sleep and weight problems to being micromanaged.


How to alleviate micromanaging and destress in the process:

1: Try to notice the signs. Take note of any negative effects within your team such as decreased productivity, lack of enthusiasm, or increased anxiety. Look at yourself and how you go about your day – do you need to know exactly what everyone is doing at all times, do you need to be cc’d on every email, do you need to go over everyone’s daily tasks? It may be time to consider setting up an anonymous survey where team members can give their feedback on your management style and how it directly effects their learning style and their work. You can then begin to learn and understand how your management habits are effecting your team and what the best possible solutions are to working with their different learning styles.


2: Identify your fears. It is important to know what is causing your stress and anxiety and why it’s causing you to micromanage. Are you afraid of failing? Afraid of your employees failing? Do you trust your team? You can invest in building a strong cohesive team with third party coaches and even a personal executive coach to help you with self-awareness and personal improvement. Once you start truly trusting your team and yourself, you will be able to practice letting go of the worry and stop stressing over every little thing.


3: Be patient during the transition. Understand that some of these changes will take time, so practice patience with yourself and your staff. If you sent out an anonymous employee survey or started using a coach, soak up the information and map out the areas you can begin to change. Find a middle ground in your management style. Limit the number of emails you’re cc’d on, scale back your daily check ins and trust that the work you delegate will be completed properly. Once you see the positive results that your team can successfully complete a project with more freedom, you will have the ability to enjoy more freedom yourself.


Your stress and micromanaging ways cannot dissipate overnight. Change is a process that takes work and dedication. The last thing you want is to drive away your employees and contribute to the deterioration of their health and yours. Acknowledging the fact that you are micromanaging is the first step in changing the behavior. Noticing the effects your micromanaging has on your team will help you to see the full picture. This will assist you in allowing yourself to take a step back and destress in the process. You and your team will start to feel less stressed and more empowered by a feeling of freedom; increasing engagement, performance levels, and overall morale.