Micromanagement is a very effective system of management and an awful way to be managed. Its omnipresence is difficult to navigate because it isn’t driven by coherent theory, it’s driven by the desire to maintain (the illusion) of control. Micromanagement doesn’t serve the employee. It serves the hierarchy.
Micromanagement is an example of a limiting system. Limiting systems are everywhere in organizations; some with names equal in their negative connotation, some hidden behind accepted organizational practices, and many with no names whatsoever.
Performance in limiting systems happens despite the system. Significant effort is required to overcome the limiting factors of the limiting system to achieve anything. And unless that effort is to change the system, any achievement is unsustainable.
Overcoming the demotivating characteristics of micromanagement requires effort. That effort is wearing over the long term. Individual performance deteriorates. Some employees leave. Goals are reduced. The manager’s manager gets involved, which may make things worse. The system’s limiting effects cascade.
Yes, systems can create a floor for performance. Systems can place an upper bound on success, too.
The latter is more of a problem in modern organization’s than the former. Working on systems isn’t only about sustained performance; working on systems can also be about identifying what’s preventing performance to begin with.