Killer of creativity, Master of Distrust, Watchdog, Invigilator.

These are common connotations often associated with the term “micro-manager”. The official meaning of micromanagement is a management style where a manager intensively observes, controls, records the work of subordinates or employees.

Flexible and remote working are scary concepts for micromanagers. Certainly not something that they ever anticipated to happen globally….

The pandemic took employees out of their line of sight and away from management’s control. The truth is that most employees are more productive when they are provided with the freedom to work wherever they would like.

A survey done by Flexjobs with more than 3,100 professionals, 65 percent said they worked better in a location outside of the traditional office.

Determining the exact amount of surveillance given to employees is often difficult to equate, especially when working in a virtual world.

It Is A Fine Balance

If you provide too little oversight and guidance your staff can feel lost, unengaged, unproductive which often evokes negative feelings towards sales leaders. 

On the flip side… too much direction, intervention and monitoring could lead to resentment and resistance.

It’s No Fun

However, the effect on people varies, some employees thrive on earning trust when they feel rejected, denied or ignored.

While this might seem beneficial on the onset, the long-term impact may have damaging effects as these employees usually burn out when they don’t succeed in their efforts.

Disengagement of Team members

The danger is that employees such as these become dependent on micromanagement which results in stagnant behavioural patterns.

Often lacking in making decisions on their own, unable to adapt to any disruptions, and become “yes” men.

Micromanagement is the perfect fertiliser to grow non-existent leaders.

“The “result” of micromanagement is tangible in the short run, but more often causes damage for the long term.”

– Pearl Zhu
Change Insight: Change as an Ongoing Capability to Fuel Digital Transformation

It is not all doom and gloom

A sales management tip for

Sales leaders are not to shy away from being visible. Some top consultancy firms in the United Kingdom, such as Baringa Partners have been implementing manager-to-staff ratios, convinced that trust is fostered by proximity.

Rentokil has made it compulsory for sales leadership teams to go on the road with their teams to support front-line sales staff.

While MediaMath gives two managers responsibility for each individual team member, one to provide guidance on specific skills, and one to provide guidance on projects.

MediaMath’s HR director Lone Jensen said “As leaders, we don’t have all of the answers. The structure can sometimes slow down decision-making, but we believe collaboration enables us to create better outcomes for our people and clients.”

Phil Wood, area managing director from Rentokil, admitted that delegating responsibility to local managers improved productivity and profits it also enabled them to be “more customer-responsive” even though it resulted in higher overheads.

Here are 5 game changing reasons why you should avoid micromanaging your sales team in a virtual world. 

Let us explore the dangers of micromanagement

Loss of governance

The funny thing about governing is that when it is your only means of management, you usually end up losing it. 

It’s important to realize that there are many valid management styles and every staff member reacts differently to each. When you drastically limit your style you also limit your ability to communicate and, in the end, your ability to manage.

“Micromanagement is the destroyer of momentum.”

Miles Anthony Smith
Why Leadership Sucks™ Volume 2: The Pain, Pitfalls, and Challenges of Servant Leadership Fundamentals

Loss of certainty

Micromanagement eventually leads to a devastating breakdown of trust between you and your staff. Your staff will no longer see you as a manager, but a tyrant whose only desire is to instil fear in his staff.

This crushing act breaks what little trust already exists between employee and manager. When trust is gone, two things can happen: a serious loss of productivity and in a worst-case scenario, loss of employees.

Remember, trust is a two-way street. Your staff must be able to trust you as much as you trust them. Micromanagement destroys trust.

Vulnerable insecure employees

Micromanagement makes your team feel like they must have your constant guidance.

Dependent employees take more time and effort to manage, which can take a toll on your schedule and energy. 

You need to remind yourself that those employees were initially hired because they brought something to the table: skills, talents, and insights all unique to every staff member. 

When your employees are given more independence, they’ll continue to think on their own—and when employees have the freedom to think on their own, great things can happen.

Personal fatigue

Sure, burnout is always a danger in any job, but the energy burned while micromanaging will ignite that wick faster than anything. While the negative health impacts of high-stress jobs have been known for years, new research has found that mixing stress with micromanagement increases the odds of employees’ early deaths.

This November study from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business looked at how stress and levels of control affected 2,363 employees. When comparing highly demanding jobs, those that also gave employees less control was associated with a 15.4 percent increased chance of death.

While no one wishes an early grave on their employees, micromanagers can still find it difficult to loosen the reins. Instead of thinking about the control being given up, however by using these sales management tips , they should focus on what’s gained by backing off.

Lack of Sovereignty

Employees will slowly lose the desire to be innovative and creative. No one will step outside the proverbial box or go the extra mile for a task. You hand those same people a certain level of autonomy and they will take pride in what they do and how they do it.

A lack of autonomy will squelch growth in your employees. One of the goals of management should be to see staff members rise in the ranks.

Let’s take these  5 game changing reasons seriously for us to avoid micromanaging our sales team in a virtual world. 

One more sales management tip is, Articulate two-way elucidation.

A report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) looked at 600 employees’ feelings about their jobs. Only 30 percent of respondents were satisfied with how their work contributed to the overall success of the company.

One of the biggest issues with micromanagement is that it’s one-sided. 

Everything must be done the manager’s way, which is probably why the survey found that only 37 percent of employees participating said they were very satisfied with the respect and consideration their managers gave their ideas.

Remember, there is more than one way to skin a cat…. And employees might even know the best way!

Instead of barking orders, ask employees for their ideas and opinions. My last sales management tip is to discuss how employees work best and how they can work most efficiently. If they see a different way to do things, let them give it a shot. After all, if they get the job done and do it well, what does it matter if they choose a different way of doing it.

Written by Munene Nel

Sales coach @ The Academy For Sales Excellence.

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