Guide to Micromanagers

The 2023 Guide to Micromanagers: Signs, Causes, Solutions

Even kids in diapers need freedom. So, what about the adult employees who have to face a great degree of micromanaging in the workplace?

To be honest, not a single employee on earth ever likes to be micromanaged. Employees never like to be closely observed by a manager and be reminded of their work every hour. When micromanaged, employees feel suffocated, and that affects their performance.

Now, there’s a forecast by Global Workplace Analytics that by the end of 2021, 25-30% of the world’s workforce will be working part or full time from home. So now, if you think you will get some degree of respite from the clutches of micromanaging in the workplace, you may be wrong.

While telecommuting is fast becoming a mandate due to coronavirus restrictions, micromanaging can turn out to be more oppressive during this world health crisis.

Bosses will now be able to poke their noses every hour in the form of emails, voice chats, phone calls, and text messages. Are remote employees still thinking of ways to escape getting sucked by their micromanagers?

This 2021 guide for micromanagers helps you identify a micromanager, provides you with some resources on managing a micromanager, dealing with a controlling boss, and telling your boss to stop micromanaging.

And, it’s clear, by now, that no one enjoys working under a micromanager.  

Recommended Read: A Guide to Hiring and Managing Remote Teams

Are you a micromanager?

As a manager, it’s good to find out whether or not you are over-managing and underestimating your employees.

Here are some signs of a micromanager, or a list of micromanaging boss characteristics that can show you the mirror:

  • You resist delegating work to others because you believe that no one else can do a decent job. Therefore, you prefer doing everything yourself.
  • You constantly need reports and frequent work-related updates because you don’t trust your employees’ work and dedication.  
  • You don’t let your employees make independent decisions. You are the kind who wants your employees to ask you, “Sir! Please may I go to the washroom?” You often don’t understand that the employees you are managing are the most qualified persons for the role. They should be allowed to bring their expertise to work.
  • You continually keep a watch on your employee’s behavior and check what they are working on.
  • You are never satisfied with the results and just keep complaining. You fail to realize that you only find what you look for. You are always on the lookout for evidence that validates your madness. You feel you are trying to push excellence, but you are demotivating your subordinates.
  • You rarely show interest in giving feedback to your employees. You are never interested in telling what can be done to improve. Instead, you are focused on the weakness of others.
  • You fail to see the big picture and the connection between work and reward. Instead, you are focused on small things. Then, wherever there is a need to make some minor creative changes, you ask for the whole picture to be redrawn.
  • You want to keep a complete record of all the communication of your employees, and that’s the reason why you need a cc of every email.
  • You have a relatively high employee turnover rate. This is due to the toxic environment you create in your workplace.
  • You lack confidence in your teammates.
  • You are fond of measuring and monitoring everything.

What made you a micromanager?

If you are a micromanager, your employees are surely trying to figure out how to work with a micromanager. But you, too, need to understand what made you a micromanager.

While working in a business organization, employees have their fears, and so do the managers. While some fears may be related to the organization, they have more to do with you.

Often, there is a lack of confidence and issues related to trust. Chances are you might be an under-confident manager struggling with employees to take you seriously. As a result, you begin to micromanage to make sure your team responds to your authority.

Alternatively, you may not have trust in the competence of your employees, and you want to make sure things are moving the right way.

Micromanagement may be your only management style. You may have inherited this style from your seniors, and you might have seen that this style yields results.

You may be under the fear of losing control over your employees. You might be under the fear that you will not be able to demonstrate to your employees how you want things done unless you are with them.

You may be under the fear of missing out on the job that you are overseeing now. You think you’ll miss unless you are in the thick of the action and you have ended up doing the work you were supposed to delegate.  

How to deal with your micromanager?

There is a concept of shared ownership and great teamwork. Micromanagement only slows things down and deteriorates outcomes. Thus, every employee has the right and duty to mitigate the negative effects of micromanagement.  

Work to build trust and shared accountability. When leaders, managers, and teams are expected to take ownership of the work and build trust, people behave differently. All want work that matters, and everyone tries to be good teammates. Give them freedom.

Think ahead. Demonstrate your ability to think ahead by providing regular status updates. This will help solve micromanagement issues that arise by calling, emailing, or paying you in-person visits.

Promote feedback. Feedback is necessary for areas of your concern. If you are not sure of any process, you can approach your manager for a solution on how to solve the problem.

Understand your manager’s expectations. How to deal with a controlling boss involves understanding his specific work expectations. You can prepare a list of must-dos and things that arise sometimes and check in daily with your manager if there are any necessary adjustments.

Springworks Team

Building products and tools to simplify the life of an org's HR function in terms of recruiting, onboarding & retention!

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