In my work helping CEOs and executives re-shape their approach to work using their Zone of Genius, I observe lots of ways great performance is hindered. One of the most prominent is micro-management.
The problem with micro-management is that it may not be seen as an issue from higher up. This means that the people who suffer most are those that are reporting to or working directly beneath a micro-manager. It's a killer to performance because it robs the individual of any possibility of exercising their own performance muscle.
If you are working for someone that is micro-managing you, I would strongly advise sharing the below messages. It's important to accurately communicate the impact that this style of leadership has not only on your experience of work but also on your ability to be a superstar employee.
1. I am not able to think for myself because you also tell me what to do, and this is affecting my confidence.
This is a big one. By telling someone what to do, you keep them from exercising proactive thinking. If you are robbed of autonomy and challenge, you won't directly see your own agency and genius make great contributions at work, and your confidence will dwindle.
2. I don't think you trust me and my capabilities.
A sense of distrust is another side-effect of a micro-managing leadership style. Micro-managing removes the trust that comes when someone is given the ability to think on their own and really stretch their capabilities. This style gets in the way of developing a strong, supportive relationship between manager and employee.
3.The lack of autonomy is making me think I will fail at other jobs. Because of this, I am staying at this job because of lack of confidence--not because I want to.
Most people aren't aware of how much confidence they have lost as a result of working with a micro-manager. Building your confidence is like building a muscle, if you stop working at pushing your comfort zone, your confidence dwindles. If you lack confidence, you are not likely to stand your ground and leave a situation that isn't working. For this reason, people that are micro-managed stay, despite not being happy. From a management perspective, nobody wants someone who isn't engaged and feeling as though they aren't of high value. It's a lose-lose situation.
4.I am not adding value. You could save money by hiring someone more junior that is looking to be a task master.
Most micro-managers are hiring big salaried, smart people that are supposed to be adding value. But by the nature of their management style, they keep people from being able to add value. In the case of a micro-manager, it's much more cost effective either let their people provide value or look at hiring someone who wants to be told what to do.
5. You are not productive because you are doing everyone else's job in addition to your own.
This is another really important point. If you are micro-managing your team, then you aren't leaving a lot of time to do your own job. The micro-manager leader is demonstrating that working non-stop--potentially to burn-out--is culturally accepted and expected. This message may not be the intention but behavior speaks louder than words