Seven Reasons to Avoid Micromanagement for Projects

Sep 7, 2019 | Project Management

Developers working hard
Photographer: Tim van der Kuip | Source: Unsplash

Although it is true that project activities require a certain level of attention to keep things on schedule, there can be such a thing as too much attention which can end up hurting your efforts to achieve your project goals. Project managers often fall into the trap of micromanaging every little detail which can be detrimental to the whole venture.

In this blog post, we cover six main reasons why you should stay away from micromanaging project activities and how they can hurt you in the long run.

Loss of Trust

Most projects require the manager to work together with a team. Each member is assigned a specific role and expected to complete their duties for the successful conclusion of the project.

If the project manager starts guiding and interfering in every little detail of the activity, it can cause a lot of discomfort for the project team members. While the manager may only be trying to help them out, it can send a message that either the team member is not trusted enough, or they are considered to be lacking in skills.

Either of these conditions can create a feeling of mistrust between the team member and the manager. When a project member feels that the management does not trust them, they will also stop trusting the manager, leading to a loss in productivity.

Loss in Productivity

When you micromanage every little task as the project manager, your employees won’t be able to focus on their tasks because they are constantly worried about you correcting their work. This can reduce efficiency and productivity for the project as your

Projects are characterized by resource limitations. When your attention and energies are directed at tasks that should be handled by team members, their labor will go to waste. Your own ability to plan and lead the group will also suffer as a consequence.

Moreover, if the project manager makes a policy that every task needs to be reviewed by them before being checked off as completed, it can create bottlenecks and cause delays on the project.

Increased Dependence

If the project manager reviews every little task, team members can also become dependent on the manager for guidance and direction. Employees will be reluctant to make decisions on their own and wait for the manager’s approval, even in cases where they can decide on their own.

While this may not matter a lot in short-term projects that last one or two days, more significant projects with a distributed team are likely to suffer significantly. Suppose the manager is not available to decide for several days. The whole project could come to a stop and delay the schedule.

This is why managers must promote a culture of independent decision making for team members, at least on projects where they know they may not be available at times. Micromanagement is the last thing that you need.

Loss of Morale

Unsplash Image Fa63e523d8bd8ab25edb480b4b486f10 800
Photographer: JESHOOTS.COM | Source: Unsplash

Every team member working on a project is different. Some are more dependent on instructions while others seek freedom to be creative and innovative for activities. If the manager tries a micromanagement approach on team members that are more willful, it can cause resentment and loss of morale.

Team members can also lose confidence if they are constantly micromanaged. They will start second-guessing their decisions and ask for approval, even for the most insignificant of tasks.

Project members who become disgruntled and unhappy due to lack of autonomy will not be very productive and even leave the project.

Higher Staff Turnover

Long-term projects require consistency. They need team members that have been part of the project since the beginning, or at least for some time, to ensure things go according to plan. Experience shows that projects where team members keep leaving and have to be replaced with new ones go off the schedule and never meet their target.

Most people do not like being micromanaged as it gives them an impression of mistrust or lack of skills. If you start micromanaging employees, they might quit the project and you will have to find a replacement for them.

Bringing in new people and retraining them on the project takes time and resources, something that you won’t have a lot while working on projects. Employee turnover is something that should be avoided.

Project Manager Burnout

Another major disadvantage of micromanagement is that the manager is likely to get burned out. Let’s face it. You cannot do everything on the project, no matter how hard you tried. Micromanagement takes time. The more time you spend ensuring everything is perfect on the project, the less time you will have for rest and your social life.

People need to take a break from work to recover their lost energy. This is precisely why managers in stressful jobs are given vacations to take time off from work and rebuild their motivation and mental strength.

Loss of Strategic Vision

The project manager is like the brain behind the venture. Their job is to ensure different people are brought together and complete activities individually, leading to the successful completion of the project goal. While they should be available to provide guidance and support, yes, it is not their job to pick up the wrench and start turning bolts.

Micromanagement diverts the project manager’s attention from long term goals. It is best avoided to help you stay focused on the project results and let your team members deal with the daily grind of the project.

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