Is Micromanagement Losing You Top Talent?

Whenever we take on a new employee, we all aim to keep them for the long run and provide them with a bright future. We want to give employees the freedom to control how they work and the autonomy they deserve, especially for employees with many years of experience.

However, what happens if this autonomy starts to fade? Or worse yet, was promised but never delivered. How does your workforce transform if management begins to override creativity, and control overrides independent decision making and the organic learning that comes with it?

Micromanagement can have a highly detrimental effect on employees, and is most often the result of an employee becoming a manager purely to fill that role without any formal training or experience in managing people. Alternatively, it can be the result of a deep-rooted culture within a business, in which employees can end up immersed after many years of the same routine, regardless of the leadership values they joined the company with.

A shift in how we learn

According to Forbes, studies show that millennials, in particular, respond better to coaching and guidance than to command-and-control management. Yet, many managers still lapse into a tendency to “sweat the small stuff”, because it creates a sense of ‘doing something’, regardless of whether it’s helping the employee or not.

In contrast to the traditional schooling system – designed to teach young people to follow commands, ready for a factory workplace – the modern education system and the modern world now demand problem solvers, creative thinkers, and people to think for themselves and work autonomously. In turn, our management should facilitate this and encourage people to have the confidence to work independently, not merely follow commands and ‘button push’. From this perspective, it’s clear to see how micromanagement can have an entirely detrimental effect when it comes to what we need in order to create a successful workforce and how our people need to be managed to thrive.

So what exactly are the dangers of micromanagement on your talent retention?

Loss of trust

In many cases, ongoing ‘over the shoulder’ management leads to employees recognising that their manager has effectively paved over the human side of their role and the person behind the employee, and instead sees a job purely as a function. This ultimately undermines the talent and skills that a manager supposedly hired an individual on. In the long run, many employees report losing trust in a workplace who promise something they don’t deliver. Trust is a two-way street and a manager should be able to trust you as much as you trust and respect them.
A loss of trust in an organisation can lead to three things:

Loss of control

Micromanaging is effectively narrowing the management tools at your disposal until all you have left is control. Loss of trust and respect from an employee can often reduce their readiness to listen and learn from you, and can ultimately lead to a managers loss of control altogether. It is in these cases where, if change isn’t made, businesses may see staff turnover increase if a culture of micromanagement becomes deep-rooted into a business.Image result for manager over the shoulder

A workforce of dependents

On the other hand, many people value their job too much to walk away for the sake of an overbearing manager. In these cases, employers may witness widespread losses of productivity and an increase in dependency on seniors, as employees lose their freedom to be creative and work autonomously, and become ‘stuck’ in a routine of having to ask managers repeatedly throughout a process.


We expect that for the managers out there, that paying such close attention to the nitty-gritty of every function is exhausting! If you join a company with a deep-rooted culture of very close management, adapting to this may result in you losing the love for management altogether. Micromanagement is just as unhealthy for managers as it is for employees! This is why it’s essential for people looking for management roles to ask the right questions and work hard to understand their honest management style, their culture, and values.

If you are looking to hire for your management team and would like our help finding you someone who has the same management style, culture, and values as you – do not hesitate to get in touch by calling 0117 4280600 today.