It’s a truth universally known that micromanagers are counterproductive in any kind of industry. Almost all types of training, from personality development to church leadership training, stress that it’s never good to breathe down your employees’ necks every time they perform a task.
There are, however, circumstances where micromanagement is not just acceptable but effective. After all, there is no blanket rule that covers all types of employees in all types of environments, and some situations require the eagle eyes of a micromanager.
Situation 1: a Company in Crisis
When the company is in a crisis, fast, effective responses are required. Whereas in ordinary days, the team lead would look at the bigger picture and check updates, a crisis leader would be more involved in the day-to-day tasks of the subordinates. When every step counts, and when there is very little room for error, the leader would have to look closer at how everyone works.
Matters become more complicated if the company laid off employees. The remaining workers would have to cover tasks they don’t normally do, which is why the manager works more closely with them to ensure that progress is happening.
It must be noted, however, that micromanagement is not a sustainable solution—it’s a temporary action plan to get things going and somehow pull the company out of the red zone. Once things begin to stabilize, micromanagement is no longer needed because the employees can now handle things on their own.
Situation 2: a Fresh Recruit
An inexperienced worker—especially someone who’s new to the industry—needs a little more guidance than established employees. In this case, micromanagement is necessary as the recruit gets off the ground. The team leader looks into every little detail of the recruit’s progress until he or she becomes competent and independent. The new employee needs attention so that he or she can learn how to do things the proper way, right from the very beginning. But when he or she is able to do the job alone, the team lead can loosen his or her grip.
Micromanagement is also ideal if an employee asks a lot of questions. An employee who sends unnecessarily detailed emails with several questions is calling for help. It’s likely they are confused about their responsibilities and need greater guidance.
Situation 3: When You’re Targeting a New Market
If the company is headed toward uncharted territories and the leader decides that the team members will need more guidance, then micromanagement is alright. Employees might not have the right experience for experimental initiatives, so the situation has to be monitored more closely.
The team lead communicates more frequently with the members to ensure that daily milestones are reached and everyone is up to speed. Stricter supervision also allows managers to spot tiny issues and quash them before they snowball into huge problems.
Micromanagement has earned a bad reputation as a counter-productive leadership style, but there are times when it’s an effective solution. In a few situations, it’s necessary for a manager to check every move of the employee to reach the big goals.