Weighing up the pros and cons of micromanagement (guest article)

The term ‘micromanaging’ can often be associated with a manager who is overbearing and unnecessarily pedantic – but is this always the case? We don’t think so! When done right, micromanagement can bring a number of positives into the way you work with your team, and there’s no reason why it can’t be a positive thing.

Of course, management practices work differently for everyone, and it very much depends on the way you work – and, not to mention, the way your team work too. To help you figure out the best way to manage your staff, we’re going to take a look at a few of the pros and cons of micromanagement.

PROS:

Enhances organisational skills

One of the benefits of micromanaging a team is how much it’ll improve your organisation skills. Let’s face it – if you’re going to micromanage a team of people, you have to be organised. It would be impossible to keep on top of all the work if you weren’t! So, by closely managing your team of staff, you’ll develop the ability to effectively organise the work of your employees as well as your own. In other words, micromanagement forces you to be organised.

Boosts productivity

Despite some of the negative comments around micromanagement and productivity, when done right it’s possible that you will actually see an increase in productivity. By closely monitoring the work of your employees, you’re likely to pick up on any errors and mishaps before they snowball into a bigger problem. With this in mind, when you micromanage a team of people you can reduce the likelihood of human error. As a result of this, you’re likely to see an increase in productivity.

Encourages communication

One of the benefits of micromanaging a team is that it’s easier to openly communicate with each other. Working extremely closely with your team can help them feel comfortable talking to you and encourage open communication. A manager who is frequently unavailable or too busy to talk to their team will discourage them from speaking up – that’s not something you have to worry about when micromanaging.

Here at Tempest Designs, we work with people located all over the world and encourage open communication. Without it, it’d be extremely hard to work together – especially as we’re working in different countries – so we really do see the importance of open communication.

Now that we’ve taken a look at the benefits of micromanaging, let’s explore the other end of the spectrum and look at the downsides.

CONS:

Increased workload

When you make the decision to micromanage your team, you’ll inevitably increase your workload. You’ll have to dedicate more time to meeting your employees and reviewing their work, not to mention completing other tasks you still have to do as part of your role. This can take up quite a lot of your valuable time, which could be better spent elsewhere. You need to weigh up the benefits of micromanaging with how much time you’ll need to invest – is it really worth it? Only you know the answer.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that you’ll be taking time away from your employees and preventing their work from getting done as quickly as it could. While it might seem productive to check their work regularly to avoid mistakes, it can sometimes be more efficient to let them complete the task at hand in one go.

Lack of trust

It’s not unusual for an employee to develop a lack of trust towards their own work when they’re being micromanaged. It can be detrimental to their confidence and could actually have a negative impact on the quality of their work. If an employee feels like you don’t trust their ability to complete tasks on their own, or think that you don’t value the quality of their work, they’ll never develop the confidence they need to become decisive, strong-minded and dedicated employees.

High staff turnover

As a result of the lack of trust, employees can start to feel resentful toward their managers. Unfortunately, this can lead to staff leaving the company, which can be pretty bad for business for a number of reasons. When you have a high turnover of staff, you’ll be forking out money to hire and vet new employees, and will have to invest time interviewing and training new staff for the job. We know you’ve probably got better things to be doing with your time, so think carefully about the impact that micromanagement can have on your team.

It’s clear that micromanagement is a tool that divides the business world, and rightly so. Being micromanaged can sometimes be difficult for an employee, especially if they’re not used to being managed this way. However, it can be a useful tool for a new employee who lacks the experience and understanding of the business. It really does depend on the situation! Ultimately, it comes down to weighing up the pros and cons and questioning whether micromanagement is the right fit for you and your team.

tempestdesigns

This guest article was written by Sarah Tempest, chief designer at Tempest Designs, a leading trade supplier of fashion jewellery in Bridgend, UK. 

 

To find out more about being a guest writer for The Avid Doer, please visit this page.

 

Finding time for CPD

By continuing your professional development, you’re not only maintaining your CPD requirements for a professional body (if you’re a member of one of course) but you’re also keeping your skills and expertise fresh. Continually expanding your breadth of knowledge, skills and abilities brings so much to your career, increases your chances to progress, and helps you learn and develop as a professional. 

But it can also be hard to factor it into your tight schedule. With work, commuting and generally having a life at home, CPD tends to fall by the wayside, something that can be picked up ‘when you get the time’. Trouble is, we all know that unless you proactively change something, that time will never come. Even when you get the time, will you remember to work on your CPD? Will you even be prepared to do it and have something in the pipeline, ready to be picked up at a moment’s notice?

I’m sure we can all relate to this, even muggin’s, someone who is passionate about learning and development. With time though, I have got to a stage where I am confidently on top of CPD, and then some. This isn’t to brag (honest), this is to demonstrate the success of the one thing I changed with my schedule to make sure I got my game on when it comes to CPD.

This change is habit.

Each one of us has a different degree of habitual nature, that is some people can pick up a habit quite quickly and get comfort out of this (if it’s a healthy habit of course), while some people need more time than others to build up a habit. Understanding which category (or where along the imaginary habitual spectrum) you consider yourself to be in will really help manage your own expectations of the time it takes you to develop a new habit, including the habit of making CPD a part of your life.

This sounds a little drastic – I’m not suggesting CPD should be the be all and end all of your life. I am suggesting though that making some sort of regular recurrence of your CPD activities means it’ll always have a place in your schedule. This has worked very well for me and have incorporated into two aspects of my life: in work and outside of work.

Habitual CPD in work

The more obvious exposures to CPD are activities at work. You can be as creative or direct as you like when it comes to making CPD a habit at work (or a bit of both). Actively finding stretch pieces of work in addition to your usual duties can be easily done if it coincides with any particular performance objectives you might have, or if there are new areas of work you would like to get involved in. The stretch work expands your knowledge, develops new and existing skills, and grows your network at work. If you’re someone who is particularly interested in developing your social capital, this is a healthy perk of keeping on top of your CPD.

With a CPD mind set, and depending on how adventurous are willing to be, setting yourself with CPD activities that deliberately get you outside of your comfort zone will help build your confidence as well as skills. Signing yourself up to, for example, public speaking opportunities or coaching someone, will really pay off in the long run. Making this a habit then means they’re no longer scary to do, they’re no longer ‘that one time you did that scary thing and have never done again’. An unexpected payoff for habitual CPD!

Before explaining how to ensure this is done to a point of forming a habit, I’ll expand on habitual CPD outside of work.

Habitual CPD outside of work 

The CIPD website has heaps of information on the different types of CPD you can do outside of work so there isn’t any point in me regurgitating their information.

You can however use this information to inspire you to think differently in terms of your overall professional goals. Understanding your professional motivation provides you a sort of compass that lets you know if a type of activity you want to habitually take up is going to lead to that goal.

This is going to be a recurring item in your schedule; you need it to be worth it in the long run. It’s outside of work and therefore in your own time so it needs to be something you really want and need to do.

For example, have you considered developing your social media presence in a professional capacity? According to Time to Log Off, in March 2017 the average time spent online in the UK per person was 83 hours; more than three quarters of this was on smartphones alone. Wouldn’t it be great if we could harness that time to something more productive than aimless scrolling? It’s already a habit you have formed but redirecting your focus on a professional capacity means that this time is spent on CPD.

It’s spent on following thought leaders, understanding hot topics in the world of HR that everyone’s talking about, taking part in debates and conversations, voicing your own opinions and thoughts so that other professionals will want to follow you. These are all fantastic CPD opportunities that lead onto MORE CPD opportunities- podcasts, books, videos, Ted Talks!

The point is that regardless of what you do (this isn’t a post that lists the types of CPD out there), you need to ensure it becomes a habit.

Making it a habit

Once you’ve established the sort of existing habits you have that can be refocused to CPD, like surfing the internet, you need to ensure the other activities you do form a habit.

Logically CPD is recorded in some sort of format. This logs all of your activities and is usually associated with being evidence to CIPD or other professional bodies that you have clocked up your CPD.

Getting the most out of this log however is part of making your CPD a habit.

Firstly, you can use the CPD log as a list of things you would like to do with completion dates.

Secondly, you can use these completion dates as entries in your work or home calendars (or both!), as well as time slots in between to remind you to work on them, so that there is a concrete commitment and reminder that this needs to be done. The additional benefit of this is that you begin associating activities as being CPD-eligible. Half the time, we forget what actually constitutes as a CPD activity, for example reading a topical article in a magazine. It all counts.

Then thirdly, you use the same log as a reflective log.

Reflective log

Please do not underestimate the benefit of reflection, and in turn a reflection log. Whether an activity taught you loads, or was complete and utter rubbish, going through the motions of recording your reflection makes you reflect on it – you need to come up with an entry after all. Putting pen to paper makes you start thinking how you intend to use what you have learned into the workplace or professional life, the very point of CPD.

How you structure this log is up to you – I split a spreadsheet in two sections. One on the left to record upcoming, past and ongoing CPD, explaining the reasons why I want to do these; and then one on the right as a reflection of the activity once completed.

Again though, this needs to be updated and worked on habitually, and like including completion dates in your calendar, having a infinitely recurring entry to ‘update CPD log’ means it becomes part of your schedule.

As mentioned, depending on where you sit on the habitual spectrum, it may take time for this to become a habit. Keep with it. Incorporate it into your schedule ensuring that CPD is an ongoing developmental aid, and not just something you need to produce evidence off at the last minute when requested to do so. It’s for you, after all; not them.