I’m guessing that at some point in your career, you will come across an underperforming colleague. Then the management will need to take a decision, to let them go or to turn them around. It’s kind of like insurance. To salvage or not to salvage?

But before we go into that, we need to understand the reason for their poor performance. Poor performance can be due to a lack of desire or a lack of ability or a combination of both. For those with a lack of desire to do well, they are generally write offs. But for those who have a desire to well but lack the ability, what can we do for them?

Micromanaging as a turnaround strategy

Micromanaging has a negative connotation and people generally associate the managing party to be incompetent and insecure. But there are times when micromanaging is good and necessary; This is one of those cases.

Why is that? When someone is identified as underperforming, management is already pissed off. Time is not on their side. They are closely scrutinised and need to deliver something quickly. Micromanaging closes the feedback loop and gives almost instantaneous feedback. This will enable them to deliver something on short notice.

Not only does the underperformer need to deliver something, that something also has to be relevant. Most people who underperform due to ability have no idea where to start or which area needs work. As a result, the initial level of guidance needed is something that only micromanaging can offer.

What’s the long term plan?

In the longer run, micromanaging is not practical. It takes up a lot of resources and the micromanaged party will feel no sense of achievement and a lack of autonomy. Or even worse, it creates a bunch of dependent employees, who don’t think and cannot function without micromanagement.

Instead, after the initial phase of micromanagement, ensure that consistent and actionable KPIs are communicated with necessary guidelines. Reporting is implemented with a gradual reduction in depth and frequency, giving the candidate an opportunity to excel.

Remember, micromanaging does not have to be a management style. It can also be a tool, used to quickly steer a sinking boat out of rough sea.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].


Previous articleHoly grail of effective HR practices
Next articleSecuritisation of mooncakes
Graduated from Singapore Management University, and has experience dealing with people, projects and process. He speaks both Tech and Business; a jack of all trades, who is always up for a new challenge. A firm believer in experiential learning and for that reason, his passion for travel and exploration.