5 signs your managers are killing employee engagement

“75% of employees don’t quit their job; they quit their managers

Yes, that’s true. If employees are unhappy and seem disengaged in your organization, you need to look deeper and see the relationship they have with their managers. Fearless, inspiring and independent are the core values that makes one a great leader and an inspiration to the rest of the employees. But do these qualities force your management to put their nose into everybody’s business and micromanage them? Then you might be incurring the wrath of your employees who might one day come up to you and say: “I don’t want to work for you anymore. Keep your nose out of my tasks.” Ouch! That hurt, didn’t it?


A late 18th century philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, conceptualized the idea of a panopticon which is basically a circular building with an observation tower at the centre of an open space surrounded by an outer wall. This design would facilitate more effective surveillance.

This set-up gives the authoritative figure “ability to penetrate men’s behaviour” without difficulty.

So here are 5 signs that show that your organization is a part of this panopticon like set-up and are micromamaging your employees to the extent of causing frustration in them and killing employee engagement!

1. Obsessing over minute details and over looking the bigger picture


Do your employees feel strangulated by the lash your managers have over their neck that directs them towards a particular direction, without actually asking them if they are interested in being lead or not? May be they have a destination in their mind and they want to pursue it some other way. Some of us might actually be the tortoise from the hare and the tortoise story, who want to take their own time doing something. And for these people, being micromanaged and told what pace to follow might seem like the biggest pain in the world.

2. Discouraging subordinates from taking decisions


Dealing with controlling bosses who don’t trust employees is tough. Such bosses are never quite satisfied with whatever their subordinates do and never trust you enough with any responsibility. You might have an excellent idea poking your brain, but you’ll be forced to keep it to yourself since you are dead sure that your manager will laser in on the details and take great pride in telling you why your idea won’t work.


Are you aware of these latest trends in employee engagement across the globe? 

In situations like these, the employees feel claustrophobic and this can lead to a drastic fall in the number of engaged employees.

3. Keeping too much track of employee whereabouts


Your employees might go out for a lunch on a Friday afternoon with some colleagues. And the moment they take their first bite, they get a call from the dreadful manager, asking them about their whereabouts and how many minutes exactly will it take for them to chew that burger and get back to business. This is not micromanaging, but micro poking noses in other people’s spare time.


If your employees feel that they are under constant surveillance, as if someone is sitting on the watch-tower keeping an eye on every move they make, then it’s high time you buckle-up and address the issue.

4. Expecting a CC from employees in every mail


Like every insecure couple, who feel the need to check their partner’s phone or social media profiles to feel secure, micromanagers feel the need to influence every decision the employee makes and like every paranoid couple, it will become detrimental to your relationship.

See how a large telecom infrastructure company increased its employee engagement index by 65%!

Underlying the need to micromanage is the fear of failure. So when you become insecure about the talents and skills of your employees you want to be posted about each and every project. The problem arises when your employees start becoming so dependent on your approval and insights that they start depending on it completely without any autonomy. It becomes a vicious cycle.

5. Displaying frustration at the end of each project


Rather than creating a culture of accountability, you find your manager cribbing about the fact that you did not consult him before finalizing a deal. So when you click on the “send” button next time, you think twice: “Should I, or should I not?”

And where exactly does that lead you? To self-doubt and scepticism. And you slowly feel your confident old self being replaced by a highly reliant and uncertain person.

According to a survey conducted the Entrepreneur:

90% of employees in the organizations included in their “Great Place to Work Rankings” report believe that management trusts them without looking over the shoulder and 92% say that they are given a lot of responsibility.

For any organization, the dangers of micromanagement are:

  • Loss of control
  • Loss of trust
  • Dependent Employees
  • High turnover of staff
  • Lack of autonomy

The key point is to identify these signs and to train the managers to become leaders, rather than seeing them turn into an obsessed lot.

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