Managers: This Is the Biggest Killer of Employee Motivation

Picture the worst boss you’ve ever had: what was their biggest character flaw when it came to the workplace?

If you said “micromanaging”, you’re not alone. In fact, this tendency is one of the top reasons why employees resign from their roles in the US. And it’s not surprising – aside from being incredibly irritating, micromanagers reduce team motivation and ultimately increase turnover in their businesses.

You’d think with the bad rap micromanagers get that more professionals would make an effort to distance themselves from that label. However, most of these individuals aren’t even aware that they’re engaging in toxic behavior. If you’re unsure, now’s the time to check yourself: do any of the following apply to you and your business?

Symptoms of micromanaging

Low productivity. Micromanagers tend to nitpick and critique minute details that don’t really affect the overall success of the task at hand. So it’s not surprising that their employees eventually become demotivated and work slower – no one looks forward to accomplishing their work if they know negativity lies at the end of the road.

A culture of followers. Most micromanagers believe that they can control every little aspect of their team to deliver the best results. Consequently, this often creates a “wait to be told” culture, where the manager becomes a bottleneck for the team’s work. Star employees become task-executing zombies, and everyone on the team becomes hesitant to make decisions that might not line up with the manager’s vision.

Stressed-out workers. In micromanaged teams, employees are afraid to speak their minds and are constantly bracing themselves for negative feedback and harsh comments. On top of this, they may be afraid of losing their jobs. This often leads to stress-induced health problems such as sleep issues and high blood pressure.

High turnover. The job market is more competitive than ever, and you’d better believe that if your employees aren’t happy, they’ll move on.

How to break the micromanagement cycle

While micromanagers don’t inherently have bad intentions, the consequences are undeniably negative. Often, these individuals might feel that this method allows them to establish themselves as the dominant one in the team. Sometimes, they are perfectionists who can’t quite let the details go.

If you’re a self-proclaimed micromanager (it’s okay – no shame!) it’s not too late to make some revisions to your management style! Here are some great tips:

Hire accountable employees. Management isn’t so much about control as it is overseeing a team of capable individuals and providing leadership and guidance.

Set clear expectations. Often, micromanagers (whether they realize it or not) provide unclear expectations and assume their team will be able to read their minds and figure out what they’re looking for.

Balance your feedback. Constructive feedback isn’t just about mentioning the negative. Positive feedback is equally important in order to keep your team motivated and help them feel appreciated.

How do you combat micromanagement in your workplace? We can help you connect with fantastic employees for your business. Send us an email at, or visit our Applicant Tracking System page!

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