Microparenting

I’ve never heard a fellow adult say that what they appreciated most about their boss was how committed he or she was to micromanaging the employee’s every move.

Constantly asking for status updates, hovering (sometimes even literally) to ensure the work is done correctly, discouraging initiative and delaying the process by demanding every intended action first get the boss’s sign off—it doesn’t lead to happier employees or better outcomes. It impedes professional growth. It demoralizes people who would otherwise be willing to bring their best effort to work.

The dedicated micromanager is quick to defend their methods.

“It’s the only way to get the best out of my people.”

“Their work is ultimately my responsibility, and I can’t rely on anyone else to care about it like I do.”

“This is my management style, and I got to this place in my career for a reason.”

But the arguments just don’t hold up, especially when you crash that against the highest performing teams and the way that managers find ways for each individual employee to achieve the job’s desired outcomes without the boss legislating every step to get there.

So is it any surprise that microparenting is just as ineffective?

Our kids are not our employees. But I can’t think of a single example of a happy, engaged, successful Collegewise student who got that way because their mom or dad relentlessly pushed, managed and microparented their every move. Like the workplace, that hovering approach can sometimes lead to good results in the short term. But those short-term results come with long-term consequences that leave employees—and kids—less capable, less enthusiastic, and less impactful.

If you’ve been microparenting and have realized that you—and your kids—are ready for a change, here are three past posts with some (hopefully) encouraging words, specific advice, and links to additional articles to keep you going.

How to be a parental superhero

Make the effort

Just (let them) make progress