Is It Time to Lay This Boomer Workplace Trend To Rest?

Millennials have plenty to learn about the workplace. They need to create a professional brand. They need to learn how to communicate professionally both offline and online. They need to set their own goals and stick to projects long-term.

While the Millennials work on those skills, let’s talk about what Boomers can do to create more efficient, innovative, and productive workplaces.

Starting with one of the worst trends of the Boomer generation: micromanagement.

What’s Micromanagement?

In the Boomer generation, it was understood that it was the job of a manager to keep a constant eye on all of the employees who reported to them.

Make sure they don’t take too many coffee breaks. Double-check those reports. Review every email sent, every memo written, every cough and hiccup.

Good management is essential to any workplace: guiding, teaching, advising, reviewing and providing feedback on the work your direct reports create are all valuable actions you can take to get better results from a group than you could have from independently operating individuals.

However, micromanagement has never helped a single person work better.

All it does is encourage your employees to focus not on the results they’re achieving, but the rules they must never break.

No checking your phone while on the clock. No getting back from lunch two minutes late. No chit-chat around the water cooler.

If you have a boss constantly nagging you to obey the rules like you’re a naughty toddler, how hard do you think you’ll work to make that boss proud of your accomplishments?

It’s plain to see that boss doesn’t care about the work you do. That boss only cares about whether their every rule is obeyed to the letter.

Are Micromanagers Earning Their Keep?

I always wonder why leadership teams encourage this type of management, as it seems to not only encourage poor work habits among the direct reports, but also for the managers themselves.

Think about it: while your managers are busily checking to be sure every member of their team is dutifully staring at a computer screen every second they’re on the clock – what aren’t they doing? 

The micromanaging manager certainly isn’t spending their time inventing new strategies.

They’re not thinking about how to team up those three people who could probably get that annoying bug fixed.

They’re not coming up with the next big innovation that moves the needle.

All they’re doing is babysitting. And if all you need is a babysitter for your team, rather than a manager, you can get one to enforce the rules for a far lower salary than you’re paying for management.

Macromanagement vs. Micromanagement

Let’s do away with the idea that employees need a manager to keep them from devolving into lazy teenagers who would text and talk all day long if you didn’t have an authority figure standing over them.

Instead, judge your employees – AND your managers – by the results they produce, not the way they spend each individual second of the day.

Nitpicking rules don’t produce anything but resentment.

Managers who have the time to champion new projects, provide mentorship for the people who report to them, and think up great new ideas for how to move the needle?

They produce quite a lot more.

Micromanagement deserves to get left behind in the last century. I propose embracing macromanagement instead: look at the big picture, rather than the little rules, and you’re far more likely to get results. 

Paige Cornetet