A wise man once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” That wise man was Steve Jobs, and when it comes to running a team or business, he knew what he was talking about. 

Despite his statement and the logic behind it, micromanaging is still a big issue in the workplace and can be enough for employees to leave their jobs. 

For employees, getting their work done right and on time can be stressful enough, but constantly being double-checked and needing approval by their manager leads to a culture in which teamwork, innovation, and productivity are all suffocated. Not feeling trusted to do the work they were hired for only increases stress, anxiety, and overall poor mental health.

While micromanagers may feel safe and in control while having their hands on all their employees’ work, they’re actually causing detrimental consequences to their workplace. 

Lowers Productivity 

Managers have their own jobs and duties to complete. While they are in charge of a team, their role isn’t simply to check up on all their employees. When you micromanage, a great deal of time is spent away from your own responsibilities in order to give input and edit employees’ work. 

On top of that, employees who feel like they’re constantly being watched and critiqued will likely find it difficult to relax and focus on their work. Their pace and quality of work will only suffer as a result. 

According to a 2014 study by University of Pennsylvania professor Alexandra Michael, employees feel more motivated and are likely to improve the quality of their work when they’re given independence and autonomy over their own schedules.

Stifles Creativity

The more leaders micromanage, the more they’re asserting their preferences and style on everyone else. For employees seeking to have their work approved and praised, they’re less likely to take risks and innovate out of fear of being criticized. 

If their ideas are constantly being critiqued and deemed inconsequential, they’ll eventually stop leaning into their creativity. Risk-taking is not something that’s rewarded in a culture of micromanaging, as employees aren’t provided with the psychological safety to speak up and express ideas. 

Squashes Morale 

Not only does constant criticism weigh down creativity, but it also affects employees’ confidence as a whole. In the beginning, a manager’s judgement may make an employee feel motivated to prove themself, but after a while they’re likely to feel insecure about their abilities.

If employees don’t feel valued and dependable, they start to question their effectiveness and impact. A team of people with a lack of confidence is a team that is disengaged and unmotivated, which can be costly. According to Harvard Business Review, “absenteeism caused by disengagement costs a typical 10,000-person company $600,000 a year in salary for days where no work was performed.”

Increases Employee Turnover

No one wants to walk away from the office each day feeling incompetent. We want to feel confident, valued, and proud of the work we do. When working a job that doesn’t leave employees with the feeling of confidence, stress and anxiety will kick in and take over their working experience. 

Employees’ mental health becomes an issue that affects their life outside of work, too. Having a job that puts so much strain on employees’ personal life may ultimately lead them to quit, which ensures high turnover rates and costs for the company. 


Autonomy is a powerful thing and plays a huge role in any employee’s confidence and ability to succeed. When autonomy isn’t present and qualified employees feel diminished and untrusted by their managers, a slew of negative outcomes present themselves to the employee, manager, and workplace all together.

Micromanaging may be necessary in some circumstances and short-term projects, but for the long haul, employees need to feel valued and trusted at work. For tips on how to lead with a trusting mindset, contact Knowted and ask about our executive coaching services!

Re-Humanizing The Workplace

Professional development engagements designed to provide practical skills that enhance personal and work performance.

Schedule a Consultation