Micromanagement--a costly management style

Radiol Manage. 2002 Nov-Dec;24(6):32-5.


Micromanagement can be advantageous in certain short-term situations, such as while training new employees, increasing productivity of underperforming employees, controlling high-risk issues, and when there can be no question of who is in charge. However, the costs associated with long-term micromanagement can be exorbitant. Symptoms such as low employee morale, high staff turnover, reduction of productivity and patient dissatisfaction can be associated with micromanagement. The negative impacts are so intense that it is labeled among the top three reasons employees resign. Ultimately, micromanagement leads to decreased growth potential in a department. Managers who put too much emphasis on daily operational details can miss the broader picture and fail to plan for departmental expansion. Eventually, many micromanagers find themselves at considerable risk of burnout. Changing behavior associated with micromanagement can be a lengthy and difficult process. As with most problems, the first step is to realize that there is behavior that needs to be changed and to understand how it negatively impacts the department. Conducting a self-assessment of one's leadership style can be advantageous in this process. The true task is to find a balance between effectively performing daily obligations and strategically planning for the future. This task typically involves proper delegation of duties, and that in itself is a difficult challenge. Proper delegation of tasks may be the primary key to combating micromanaging behavior, however, some other suggestions include: 1. Develop a vision of what the department will look like in the future. 2. Hire people with the right skills for the job. 3. Develop a policy and procedures manual. 4. Develop solid lines of communication between managers and subordinates. 5. Expect some employee errors. Mistakes are an important process in the learning experience and should be viewed as a training expense. Employees who are allowed to be self-directed will be motivated to be more productive. Staffing issues such as low morale and high turnover will decrease; patient satisfaction will increase simultaneously.

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel / psychology
  • Administrative Personnel / standards*
  • Data Collection
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Motivation
  • Personnel Delegation*
  • Personnel Management / methods*
  • United States