The Management Dilemma

A 2019 SHRM survey of why employees leave can be directly correlated to either Micro- Managers or Neglectful Managers, including the top reasons of unrealistic expectations, being overly critical and not listening to others.

How one defines these types of management styles can vary according to the perceptions and needs of the person directly impacted, but typically can be summarized as follows:

Micromanaging is where the individual in charge of a specific employee, team or function closely observes and controls the actions and efforts of an employee or team member. The manager not only dictates actions on larger issues, but also focuses and provides instructions on the smaller tasks, no matter how minute.

In the simplest terms, a micro-manager does not allow an employee or team member to function autonomously in any capacity.

Neglectful Managing is where the individual in charge of a specific employee, team or function has not provided the guidance, support or coaching needed.  They under communicate or use technology and group meetings to communicate expectations instead of spending quality time with individuals to identify root causes of disruption and underperformance within the system.  

As a result, they create a false sense of security and get caught in an endless loop of putting out fines and leaving even less time for one-on-one dialogue, constructive feedback and problem solving.

The Warning Signs of Mismanagement

  • Communications between the manager and employees appears strained or limited.
  • Manager assumes their knowledge supercedes that of their team, regardless of functional knowledge, and they rarely ask or listen to feedback.
  • Employees begin to become hesitant to provide input or offer suggestions in team meetings
  • Manager displays a lack of trust in the ability of his/her team to deliver, or is too trusting and allows individuals and teams to fail.
  • Manager becomes overwhelmed in their day-to-day duties due to inability to delegate tasks effectively or due to lack of information.
  • Manager requires endless stream of status updates and reports from his/her team or lacks due diligence. .
  • Team meetings are dominated by the manager speaking the majority of the time or the conversation only focuses on the big picture and lacks details necessary to achieve shared results.

Why is Management Style Important’?

These two very different styles can be highly ineffective when applied across the board, but can also be an effective approach when supervising either a direct report who needs more autonomy or affirmations.  Overall, these approaches often end up undermining the ability of a team to produce results. Lack of scrutiny or continuous analysis actually leads to more distractive behavior and impacts one’s ability to develop new skills and adapt to new situations. This leads to a vicious cycle of additional scrutiny or under-performance and pile on of problems.

The ultimate drawback of mismanagement is the loss of good employees. Focus on understanding the “why” behind these behaviors and identifying the gaps in your HR system that lead to performance issues.