Here's How You Fight Micromanagement
by Olivia Glenn-Han, on Nov 18, 2020 12:20:35 PM
Micromanagement is perhaps the most toxic business cultural practice. Cultivating a workplace based on Shintaku (trust) comes from letting employees "go on their own adventures."
This piece is part of our Chōwa blog series.
Micromanagement is a Business Killer
"Micromanaging" is when a leader monitors every small movement of a team member, usually under the guise of "quality assurance."
But this practice is extremely hazardous to businesses. Some of the dangers of micromanagement include:
- workers feel less valued
- workers grow to resent leadership
- leaders strip workers of their ability to make even small decisions, creating bored workers and overwhelmed leadership
- leaders burn out
- high employee turnover
Micromanagement is often a case of "paying for someone else's sins." Most leaders don't want to be micromanagers, and most only become micromanagers after something goes wrong under their leadership. And those working under a micromanager will quickly seek new employment.
To avoid this destructive behavior, organizations must actively invest in trust. Workers can take some actions to discourage micromanaging treatment from bosses, but mostly incumbent on leaders, as leadership is the most common perpetrator of micromanagement.
"Let the Cute Child Go On Their Own Adventures"
As we've explained before, Shintaku is written the characters 信 (faith) and 託 (consign) and roughly translates to both “trust” and “entrust.” Shintaku is both earned and given. It is inherently relationship-building, which develops incrementally over time.
There is a Japanese proverb that says 可愛い子に は旅をさせよ (kawaii ko ni wa tabi wo saseyo). It translates to “let the cute child go on their own adventures.” The saying emphasizes that striking out on ones own, experiencing mistakes and failures, and achieving successes creatively are all valuable learning tools.
As a practical exercise in Shintaku, managers should let their employees "go on their own adventures.
Nervous? Start small: Dole out lower-stakes assignments and build trust, rather than handing over the "keys to the kingdom" right away. Most importantly, enter into the relationship with your subordinates from a position of trust, rather than mistrust. Don't force them to prove they are trustworthy; proceed as though they are, and deal with the contrary if it arises.
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This proverb about Shintaku is just one of the many elements of Inedo's new cultural philosophy of Chōwa, or "natural balance." We will be explaining the various elements of Chōwa here on our blog and on our social media (Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn). Subscribe to these channels and download your copy today to learn about Inedo's unique cultural philosophy of Chōwa.