We have all heard the term micromanagement quite frequently. Many agree that it is about controlling or rather over- controlling and over managing people and processes to the smallest of details. Some say it is about compelling people to do what they are told to do. While different definitions may exist, what hits closest to home for a millennial is quite simply this:
“Micromanagement is the act of showing dominance at a workplace, which may or may not be accepted by the subordinates, depending on the control of various factors.” Nobody likes being controlled and so needless to say micromanagement is a leadership trait that is not well received. If you are trying to gain control over trivial things such as equal spacing on a document, monitoring every email that your subordinates send out or even asking for daily reporting (in a timesheet) of every single activity done in a day. Then my friends you too are micromanaging. All these will amount to the lack of trust and respect. Chances are your employees are already aggravated by miscommunication and misunderstanding. This might even cause conflict between team leaders and employees.
“You better start swimming, or you’ll sink like a stone. For times they are a-changin,” Bob Dylan’s 1964 lyrics still speak true even today. A lot has changed in the professional world since then. The Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 to 1964) that once made up a majority of the workforce are moving into retirement. The millennials have taken up their place and brought with them a change in perspectives, expectations, and culture. They seek a more fluid, creative and trusting workplace as opposed to the boomers who were more conventional and set in their ways. This contradiction and subsequent friction is most evident in a traditional Indian corporate structure, between boss and employees.
The Boomers usually assume senior/ leadership roles and a majority of subordinate roles are dominated by millennials. Differences arise because boomers expect a certain work style that does not coincide with the millennial mindset, thus giving rise to differences of opinions. As a result many leaders begin to question the millennial method of getting things done and usually end up micromanaging them. However, they should alter how they manage their employees, or risk losing them. Because it has been observed that millennials don’t take too kindly to micromanagement. It is after all a toxic management technique. It allows very little autonomy or room for mistakes and eventually drives millennials to quit the job or seek other opportunities.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF MICROMANAGEMENT
Micromanagement can be OK in certain circumstances, such as the first few weeks after hiring a recruit. They may need some help getting settled in their new role. But if micromanagement continues beyond the “settling in” period of new employees, it can have a destructive effect on both the company culture and organization. Micro-management does not just affect millennials. As a whole, micro-management has a significant impact on ANY employees who want to be trusted and respected. Hence instead of generalizing micromanaging as an unacceptable trait to millennials, it will be safe to say that micro-management will be perceived as dangerous to ALL employees of ALL generations. That being said it has two critical effects on the organization.
Having a boss that constantly hovers is unpleasant. Having a helicopter boss decreases the efficiency of workers. Calling for repeated meetings or frequent nagging for updates can be extremely pressurizing. It makes millennials feel they are not trusted, which can be severely demotivating. A stressed-out employee, who constantly has to worry about doing something wrong is less likely to do good work. On the flip side, managers who pick over every detail are spending more time telling others what to do, or redoing the work of others, rather than getting anything done. This can be especially problematic. It slows down the ability for quick decision making, in a work environment where quick decisions count.
When employees are not trusted enough to do good work all by themselves, leaders usually begin to micromanage. They are kept too busy being micromanaged, making it difficult for them to come up with new ideas. Innovation only comes from employees who are allowed a chance to shine on their own. Staff under micromanagement will likely do one of two things: 1) They will become part of the “robotic” act-on-instruction culture that has mushroomed under the purview of a notorious micromanager. They will just wait until they are told what to do and will refrain from assuming complete ownership of tasks OR 2) They will leave.
WHAT THE MILLENNIAL MIND WANTS
Millennials don’t want to be micromanaged! They are receptive to early-stage micromanaging where the initial hand-holding is required. But beyond that managers are to take a step back if they wish to see a millennial employee perform. Millennials have different expectations about the workplace than their Baby Boomer predecessors. While Baby Boomers were happy to work Monday through Saturday, Millennials are looking for more flexibility. They want a work-life balance where they can explore their avenues outside the office. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and purpose which millennials crave. This, in turn, makes them work better as they constantly feel the need to be connected to the bigger picture, which gives them a sense of purpose.
This new generation is also looking for leaders who coach, not for a micromanager. They want someone who is going to listen and show them respect. They want someone who is going to give support and feedback and trust them to work successfully on their own or in a team atmosphere. One final major factor that Millennials want in the workplace, is progression and development. 43% of Millennials are planning on leaving their current job within the next two years due to a lack of development opportunities. Offering a clear career path to employees who are just getting hired.
WAYS TO INCREASE PERFORMANCE WITHOUT MICROMANAGING
While it is true that millennials do not take kindly to micro-management, it’s negative impact has the potential to disrupt employees of all generations. So then how do companies/bosses connect with Millennials? How do they keep them energized and motivated? How do they make sure they don’t move to a different company where they have been promised a better vision and a better purpose? WITHOUT MICROMANAGING. Here are some things you can do to manage these renegades better:
Remember millennials come for a school of thought that is dictated by fluidity, quick decisions and instant gratification. Strict micromanagement suffocates them. Don’t expose them to an environment where every action is scrutinized, managers are fed with constant updates, problems are solved only by bosses and nothing moves without approval. Instead, consider establishing a more collaborative atmosphere between employees, supervisors, and managers.
Freedom and Autonomy:
Millennials seek work environments that offer flexibility, autonomy, and trust. They want free-flowing creativity and the freedom to shape their version of success. They do not mind step by step guidance as long as it is accompanied by some healthy faith in their capabilities. Give employees a chance to discuss what they think is the best solution to a situational problem, rather than immediately offering a solution. Often, they will be able to offer a better solution!
Millennials would much rather learn from their mistakes than be forced to implement rigid and outdated rules and guidelines. [Text Wrapping Break]
In PWC’s report ‘Millennials at work Reshaping the workplace’, 52 percent of Millennials said opportunities for progression were the most attractive factor about a company. Companies must allow Millennials to fail a few times on less significant projects so that we are ready and capable of delivering on more important ones.
Many might think that freedom and autonomy will lead to a lack of accountability, especially among my generation. But this is not entirely true. It is possible to have freedom and autonomy while remaining accountable — they just need feedback.
Yes, Millennials crave freedom, but they are conscious of how they are performing. Being evaluated as well as being held accountable for their ideas and execution is crucial for development. Feedback should be constructive. You want to be able to give feedback and still leave your subordinates feeling as though they are a trusted member of the team. Although it can be tempting, the worst thing you can do is micromanage a poorly performing Millennial.
Gallup’s latest employee engagement report, ‘How Millennials Want to Work and Live’ says the more conversations managers have with their employees, the more engaged they will become and that engagement is highest among employees who meet with their manager for feedback at least once a week.
When it comes to feedback, it’s not enough to give feedback and not seek any in return. As a manager, you may be the leader of your team, but you are also going to make mistakes. There’s no harm in asking for feedback about the way you handled yourself in a particular situation or whether you could have done something better to help your employees. If you seek feedback, we will not only respect you but also aspire to do the same. As a result, you will create a culture of continuous improvement and 360° feedback.
Empower millennials, give them the respect they are due and provide guidance wherever necessary. In doing so, there are good chances of retaining power performers and productive millennials. By 2024, Millennials will make up 75% of the entire workforce. They have already brought changes to many businesses and industries, altering the way they operate. It’s time for a change, let’s prepare ourselves to deal with this change with a revolutionary platform like Let’s Buzzz, managers and leaders can now understand the pulse of every department and every employee.
In the hands of an able leader or people manager, Let’s Buzz can be a powerful tool for building a culture of engaged millennials.
Let’s Buzzz helps you manage millennials with the help of data backed processes, instant rewards and social recognition. Try a free demo today!