Top Ten Core Reasons Why Micromanagement Is One Of The Top Leading Causes Of Business Failure In Kenya Within The First 3 Months

By Steve Biko Wafula / Published February 12, 2024 | 2:45 pm




KEY POINTS

The psychological impact of micromanagement on employees is also significant and detrimental. Constant scrutiny and the implicit message that employees are not trusted can lead to increased stress and job dissatisfaction. The workplace environment becomes one of surveillance rather than support, which can result in higher absenteeism and turnover rates.


SME BOSS

Micromanagement is often considered the worst form of leadership in business because it undermines employee autonomy, which is crucial for fostering an innovative and proactive workforce.

When leaders micromanage, they effectively communicate a lack of trust in their employees’ abilities to manage their tasks and make decisions. This lack of trust can have a chilling effect on employee initiative; if every detail is to be overseen and every small decision requires approval, employees may feel they are mere cogs in a machine rather than valued contributors. This can lead to a reduction in employee engagement and a decline in the intrinsic motivation that drives individuals to go beyond the minimum requirements, share innovative ideas, and pursue excellence.

Furthermore, micromanagement can severely impair a team’s efficiency. By insisting on overseeing every step of a process, a micromanager creates bottlenecks, causing delays and frustration. Decision-making becomes a prolonged ordeal, agility is lost, and the organization’s ability to respond promptly to market changes is hindered. In the fast-paced world of business, where adaptability is key to survival and success, the slow pace enforced by micromanagement can be fatal. This slowness not only impacts current projects but can also delay the start of new initiatives, reducing the company’s overall competitive edge.

The psychological impact of micromanagement on employees is also significant and detrimental. Constant scrutiny and the implicit message that employees are not trusted can lead to increased stress and job dissatisfaction. The workplace environment becomes one of surveillance rather than support, which can result in higher absenteeism and turnover rates. Talented employees, feeling underutilized and unappreciated, are likely to seek employment elsewhere, where they can find better opportunities for personal and professional growth. This turnover not only has a direct cost in terms of recruitment and training but also an indirect cost by disrupting team dynamics and losing accumulated knowledge and experience.

Read Also: Top 7 Negative Company Cultures Killing Talent and the Potential of Kenyan Firms

In essence, micromanagement stifles creativity and innovation—two pillars of modern business success. When employees are not given the space to experiment and take calculated risks, they are less likely to develop creative solutions that lead to breakthrough products and services. Moreover, micromanagement does not allow employees to learn from their mistakes and grow, which is a critical part of personal development and business innovation. Instead of cultivating a culture of continuous improvement and learning, micromanagement fosters a conservative, risk-averse atmosphere that can prevent a business from evolving and keeping up with—or leading—market trends.

Therefore, micromanagement is seen as the antithesis of effective leadership because it can cripple a business’s operational efficiency, damage employee morale, increase turnover, and suppress innovation. As businesses need to be agile, trust their employees, and foster a culture of continuous improvement to thrive, micromanagement emerges as a leadership style that is not just outdated, but potentially harmful to an organization’s success and sustainability.

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Here are ten reasons micromanagement is bad for business governance according to my own experience:

  1. Increases stress and burnout: Micromanagement can be likened to the Arab proverb, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” When a leader’s oversight becomes suffocating, it creates an environment of constant scrutiny, leading to stress and burnout. Instead, leaders should “Guide the sailor, don’t row the boat for them,” fostering autonomy and resilience.
  1. Slows decision-making: In the words of another proverb, “He who hesitates is lost.” Micromanagement causes delays in decisions as employees wait for approval. Entrepreneurs should “Trust the sea to the fisherman,” empowering employees to make decisions swiftly.
  1. Stifles creativity: “A tight hand cannot exchange greetings,” reflects the stifling nature of micromanagement on creativity. Leaders should rather create an environment where ideas can blossom – “Plant each seed in the right soil.”
  1. Erodes trust within the team: Micromanagement signals distrust, akin to saying, “He who doesn’t trust enough will not be trusted.” To build a cohesive team, one must “Treat your team as your family.”
  1. Limits innovation: “The one who has never traveled thinks his mother is the only cook.” Exposure to diverse thoughts and autonomy spurs innovation. Leaders should encourage exploration and experimentation.
  1. Contribute to a high turnover rate: “People follow the ways of their leaders.” An overbearing leader will drive employees away. Instead, a leader should “Be the shepherd that tends his flock with care.”
  1. Lowers overall team productivity: A proverb warns, “If the wind blows, ride it.” Micromanagement ignores this wisdom, instead creating resistance. Productivity thrives when one “Harnesses each breeze to propel the ship forward.”
  1. Instills a culture of fear: “Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop.” A fear-driven workplace is a breeding ground for low morale. Leaders should “Light a candle rather than curse the darkness,” promoting a culture of encouragement.
  1. Overwhelms you and your team: “The one who burns his tongue from soup will blow on yogurt.” Micromanagement can lead to an overwhelmed state where even simple tasks become daunting. Delegating responsibly can alleviate this pressure.
  1. Limits the ability to attract top talent: “A good name is better than a golden girdle.” Reputation matters, and a micromanaging culture deters top talent. Instead, cultivate an environment where “Every bird can sing its song.”

Moving forward, SMEs and entrepreneurs should heed the advice of not overwatering their gardens. Recognizing achievements, resisting the urge to control, empowering decision-making, providing constructive feedback, investing in development, and letting go of perfectionism will not only encourage growth but also allow the business to flourish like “a date palm, tall, and fruitful.”

Read Also: This is How Micromanagement is Choking Your Business




About Steve Biko Wafula

Steve Biko is the CEO OF Soko Directory and the founder of Hidalgo Group of Companies. Steve is currently developing his career in law, finance, entrepreneurship and digital consultancy; and has been implementing consultancy assignments for client organizations comprising of trainings besides capacity building in entrepreneurial matters.He can be reached on: +254 20 510 1124 or Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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