Creative Leadership

Proof Why Micromanaging Doesn’t Work

A new study by neuroscience professor Amy Arnsten at Yale University indicates how much people benefit by being in charge of their own decisions. Arnsten discovered that when people lose their sense of control – like when they’re told what to do or have instructions dictated to them, the brain actually experiences a drop in cognitive functioning – presumably leading to a drop in productivity.

However, if a leader presents a long-term goal and then leaves it up to his team to make their own decisions about how to achieve that goal – then cognitive function dramatically improves – along with productivity.

The bottom line?  Micromanaging actually decreases performance and productivity because it decreases an employee’s brain function. And yet – leaders continue to micromanage their team. We’ve known for years that this type of leadership style undermines productivity (not to mention drives employees crazy) and now we actually have research that proves the point.

Lose your ego and stop micromanaging.  Determine goals, and then allow allow your team the creative space to make their own decisions on how to get there.  Become a collaborator, not a dictator.  Not only will it improve their morale, but it will improve your bottom line as well.

Have you experienced the frustrations of being micromanaged? How did you cope?

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8 Comments

  1. Employees want add value, work with their name printed on it, boomers interpret it as pride or disrespect, but the drive is the tangible desire of using their uniqueness into their work.

    Bosses that micromanage tend to blame the employee when something goes wrong even that they micromanaged all. #leadingfromthemiddle

  2. I spent years being micromanaged… I wasn’t allowed to think or speak, and if I did I was reprimanded and threatened. I (painfully) coped by knowing what my bosses were afraid of … losing control, insecurity, fear of failure, trust issues … so I turned it around. I made them look good by producing the best work I could so they could get the credit for it, I walked the perfect line for them. I made myself next to being irreplaceable. When I left, everything fell apart (as I calculated it would) simply because not many can successfully work under that kind of pressure. This was my “revenge” if you will. Working under a micromanager is a living hell.

  3. I eventually had to leave. I think the part that decided the outcome for me was when the president micromanaged a few people putting away chairs.

    There comes a point when there is nothing you can do save move on to a functioning enviroment.

  4. I am currently working in a micromanaged environment! I have been dealing with this for a year, since the new marketing manager was hired. I have lost all motivation for the work I do, because nothing I ever do is good enough. We are overloaded with work, while he sits and Skype’s, reads emails and too busy being a teacher. I used to going to work every morning, but not anymore. We are too busy being treated like children, being told we cannot have our tea breaks outside – and must sit at our desks at all time. We are not allowed to leave the building for lunch either. I am just so tired of being treated like a child at work. It is time to look for better opportunities and just be thankful that this company has given me 2 years working experience. I hope my 2nd job will be much better. Micromanaging kind of destroys the soul.

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