Featured On The Job

How Micromanaging is Draining the Life from Your Sales Reps

Did you know that work stress can actually shorten a person’s lifespan? 

Individuals working in highly-demanding jobs where they also have less control could face a 15% increase in their odds of premature death, according to a 2016 study from Personnel Psychology. 

But there is good news! When employees have a higher level of control in their work, their odds of death decrease.

No leader wishes to contribute to an employee’s early demise. Still, micromanagers struggle giving up control, which leads to negative impacts on employees’ mental health, a decrease in team morale, and causes low retention rates.

It’s important to understand how micromanaging impacts your sales team:

It eats up their time

When leaders are constantly pinging or dropping in to ask employees for updates about their projects and goals, it takes away from the time they could spend chasing down new leads or thinking creatively on new solutions to close deals. It is especially unnerving when the only obvious reason for the incessant updates is for leaders to feel in control. 

Rather than cutting into your team’s valuable time throughout the day, a more efficient way to keep up on the progress sales reps are making is to set predetermined check-in points that work with your reps’ schedules. This way they are able to have more control over their time. Quick briefings keep team leaders in the know without being too overbearing.

It creates unrealistic deadlines and goals

In a diverse salesforce, people naturally have different ways of reaching their goals throughout their workday. We all have our own rhythms and methods to our madness. We have to find what works best for us.

When micromanagers have their hands in everything, especially something as personal as controlling how a sales rep completes daily tasks or hits goals, it throws off that cadence. 

Considering 61% of salespeople say selling is harder today than it was five years ago, according to a 2019 study from Marc Wayshak, it’s important that managers do not make it more difficult. Mandating specific methods and pacing how employees accomplish tasks, does just that. For many personality-types, setting a number of unnecessary deadlines and hitting the stopwatch causes immense stress. 

Instead of forcing them to hit every mark along the way, focus on what sales reps need to reach their goals and provide solutions. It’s helpful for managers to have an arsenal of tricks and tips to help sales reps stay on track should they struggle to meet deadlines and goals. 

It decreases creativity

When sales reps rely on boilerplate sales pitches and product demos to make their case, they are more likely to miss the mark in connecting with the customer and meeting their unique needs. This is even more likely to be the case when micromanaging comes into play. 

If micromanagers insist on sticking to a prescribed system of delivering information, sales reps are inclined to feel discouraged or even prevented from finding more creative means to meet their customers’ needs. 

Rather than stifling your team’s creativity by establishing rigid protocols, reps would benefit from a library of demos, marketing materials, media resources, and even quick courses to create their own tailored and impactful approach to closing a sale.

Productivity lags

Micromanagement is a direct source of employee burnout, and according to a 2018 study from Gallup, employees who experience burnout are 13% less confident in their performance.

It creates tension in the workplace and wreaks havoc on employee confidence. This can lead to a number of different scenarios, depending on sales reps’ personalities, which ultimately devastate productivity. 

In some instances, sales reps become obsessed with meeting or even exceeding goals in an unhealthy fashion and eventually hit a wall. In other cases, sales reps feel crushed under the pressure and shut down. Furthermore, tensions arise when overachievers feel the burden of making up for sales reps who buckle under the stress and can’t keep up…and those reps confidence sinks even deeper. It’s an ugly cycle.

Take note when the team is especially tense: is the turmoil from within the team or is a direct result of micromanaging their efforts and relations? Be honest with yourself if you realize your managing style is causing stress and change it up.

It decreases retention

While most sales reps aren’t likely to know that micromanaging is statistically linked to mortality rates, they can definitely feel the direct impacts on their physical, mental, and emotional health. 

Sales reps are not going to stick around into retirement if their quality of life is going to be negatively impacted by the process. In fact, a quarter of employees have quit their job over work-related stress, according to a 2018 study from Wrike. Additionally, more than half of those surveyed said stress from their job makes it difficult to sleep.

Work-related stress is consistently one of the top stressors that impact people and the behavior of management is the greatest contributor to that stress, according to MetLife’s 2019 U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study

Mental health and general well-being have become a greater focus both in and out of the workplace in recent years, which leads employees to feel empowered to look for better opportunities if they feel stressed or stifled by their current employer. Don’t lose out on top talent by contributing to employee stress.