When Micromanagement Leads to Quiet Quitting

Are you micromanaging your employees? You may not realize that the way you oversee your employees can have a big impact on their productivity and performance, and even lead them to disengage from their work altogether.

Here’s how to stop micromanaging your team members, and encourage them to work hard.

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting is when an employee who is feeling overworked and under-appreciated stops putting in any discretionary effort. They still show up and they do the work that’s assigned to them, but they don’t go above and beyond or offer any extra insight or ideas. They just quietly disengage.

When you micromanage your employees to the point where they’re no longer engaged or even actively disengaged, it can be difficult to get their attention back once they’ve taken their foot off of the gas pedal.‍

The Downsides of Micro-Management

Especially in a remote environment where it’s difficult to track the work habits of your employees, micromanagement may seem tempting. After all, what manager doesn’t want to know what their employees are working on? However, it is more likely that micromanaging will lead to disengaged employees and ultimately quiet quitting.

When a manager micromanages their employees, they are sending the message that they do not trust their employees to do their jobs well, or make good decisions about how to complete their assigned tasks. This leads to the employee feeling unheard, unappreciated and unhappy in their work environment, feeling like they have to wait to be told exactly what to do, stifling creativity and innovation, which in turn can lead to quiet quitting.

How Empowerment Can Lead to Engagement

Empowerment is a form of management that advocates for giving employees more responsibility, autonomy, and authority in their work. It’s often used as a countermeasure against micromanagement.

Empowerment has been shown to improve both the employee’s sense of engagement and job satisfaction, which leads to higher performance at work. Empowered employees also show a stronger commitment to their company (the opposite of quiet quitting!)

A recent study showed that people who feel empowered by their managers are 13% more engaged and 11% more satisfied with their jobs. If you’re struggling with disengaged employees, consider empowering them instead of micromanaging them.

Steps you can take toward empowering your employees include: communicate guidelines and best practices, then let your employees decide how to get their work done within that framework; delegate projects and tasks to your employees with the maximum amount of autonomy to decide how to complete them; challenging your employees to create solutions for business initiatives, then allowing them to pursue their solutions.

Tips for Recognizing and Avoiding Micromanaging Employees

Self-reflection is an important part of recognizing and avoiding micromanaging employees. If you’re telling your employees every step in a process, ask yourself, “could there be another way to effectively complete this task that I haven’t thought of?” In most cases, allowing your employee the ability to try out solutions, even if they stumble at first, improves their skills along with their commitment to continually improve (and the task still gets done without you having to do it!)

If you’re concerned that your employee isn’t being as productive as they could be, are they completing their assigned work? If they are, and you feel like they could be doing more, see the above tasks to help your employees feel empowered– offering them a stretch project where they can improve their skills while solving a business need can be a win-win! If they’re not completing their assigned work, it’s doubtful that micromanaging their tasks will improve things. It’s far better to communicate your expectations and ask if anything is getting in the way of them completing their work.

There are a variety of ways to confirm that your employee is engaged and effective that don’t include micromanaging; Performica can implement peer reviews and morale surveys that really work, as well as identify employees who are at risk of leaving before they even start interviewing. By letting your data work for you, you can spend more time on critical business initiatives rather than always having to look over your employees’ shoulders, which in turn makes for happier, more engaged employees—no more quiet quitting!

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