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Effects of Micromanagement On Employees

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 by Slaughter Development

Being productive as an employee isn’t just about getting work done. It’s about performing assigned tasks thoroughly, efficiently and in a quality manner—whether people are watching or not.

Constantly monitoring employees at work is hardly empowering or productive for any stakeholder involved. In fact, it’s micromanagement at its worst. And while the tendency is to create systems of surveillance in order to increase employee productivity, it is truly a counterproductive solution. After all, when stakeholders begin to detect a sense of distrust, their motivation for quality and measure for success decreases as does their overall satisfaction.

Yet, what happens when employees become misguided in their definition of productivity? Recently, a surveillance video of a FedEx delivery man became a viewing sensation on YouTube. Unfortunately for FedEx, and for the flat screen monitor that probably ended up in pieces, the clip was a damaging display of employee carelessness and lack in quality control. See the video below [direct link]:

We may never be certain what motivated this FedEx employee to toss the package over the fence rather than treat it with the precision and care outlined in his training. Perhaps he was rushed and concerned about finishing deliveries or, as is popular opinion, he was acting out of laziness or frustration. Regardless, his actions were a far cry from the values written in FedEx’s mission statement:

FedEx Corporation will produce superior financial returns for its shareowners by providing high value-added logistics, transportation and related information services through focused operating companies. Customer requirements will be met in the highest quality manner appropriate to each market segment served. FedEx Corporation will strive to develop mutually rewarding relationships with its employees, partners and suppliers. Safety will be the first consideration in all operations. Corporate activities will be conducted to the highest ethical and professional standards.

Sadly, while the video above is disturbing, it’s not the only one of its kind on YouTube. And the problem isn’t just limited to Federal Express—in fact, UPS may take the cake with all the bad deliveries caught on video. Below is just one example of the many express deliveries that have gone awry. [direct link]

Unlike the FedEx delivery video, this UPS delivery attendant clearly appeared motivated by time. Perhaps tossing the boxes was a way to save seconds or minutes, but truly, was it really effective? Once getting off the truck, the attendant still had to pick-up, re-stack and organize the boxes before distributing. So, in the end, tossing the packages saved zero time. It may have even added a few more  minutes to the delivery!

Despite the ridiculous display of carelessness in these videos, they bring up an interesting point of view on the causes for misguided employee productivity. Because let’s be honest, such actions may not always be a result of laziness or incompetence. Rather, they could be a manifestation of micromanagement in the office. So, if procedures in your company are lagging in quality, take a moment to decipher whether processes are created and performed in a collaborative environment where documentation and procedures are clear. If not, perhaps it’s time for your company to take a different approach.

Empower employees to become masters of their own work by increasing their level of responsibility and accountability! Reach out to Slaughter Development today to learn more about how we can help.

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

14 Tips to Motivate Employees - A recent article lists “14 Management Do’s and Don’ts to Motivate Employees.” Yet, unlike many opinion pieces on this topic, every one of the suggestions is fantastic advice.
Read on »
Are Contract Employees More Productive - Employee productivity is always a hot topic. But is there a relationship between employee productivity and their status as a contractor? Read on »
Employees with Autism - Most employers are looking for candidates with “excellent communication skills.” One firm, however, hires only people with autism. Read on »
Want to learn more? Register now for the 2012 Productivity Series

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