Communication vs Over-Managing

Micromanager. That dreaded word that no one wants to be called or work for. Let’s just call it over-managing and break down how the manager and employee can deal with this behaviour.

When you hire a new employee, it’s normal to check up on the employee’s work to ensure it is being handled correctly and on time. Until the employee has established a level of competence and trust with the new employer, many managers keep a close watch on the employee’s actions. But once the employee has proven him or herself in the role or is in a high-level position, should the manager keep such close tabs? Not if you want to keep your new employee.

Over-managing can make an employee feel unreliable and incompetent. If these are traits that your new employee still has after a few months, perhaps it’s time to cut ties and find someone you can rely on. As an employer, you’re busy juggling many hats and projects – do you really have time to oversee everything your employees do? Probably not.

The over-managing may stem from a lack of communication. As an employer, are you giving your employees clear guidelines on due dates and your priorities? Employees – are you updating your boss on your progress? Keep in mind that when you provide the boss with a timeline, you need to be able to deliver. Failure to do so will perpetuate the lack of trust and the boss’ watchful eye on your work product. Communication doesn’t stop there, it is also effective to begin any new employer/employee relationship with an open discussion on expectations and your work styles. Better still, have this conversation in the interview as if you determine you have polar opposite styles for working under direction vs. independently, this relationship might not be a good fit if either side cannot compromise on the structure.

It can be difficult to change one’s style but ultimately if you want to have a good employer/employee relationship, both side may need to be flexible to keep a harmonious working relationship. An employee feeling smothered is a recipe for resignation however an employer lacking information on their business isn’t a sustainable situation. Bottom line, start talking about expectations very early on in your employer/employee relationship and build the trust that is needed for both parties to succeed.


Post by: Lynn McIlwee