Skip to main content

5 Common Signs You’re a Micromanager

By December 26, 2023No Comments

What is a micromanager?

A micromanager is someone who excessively oversees operations and closely observes and controls activity and workflow throughout the company. There are often a lot of negative connotations around micromanagement, mainly because it can restrict freedom in the workplace and often leave employees feeling stressed trying to meet unrealistic expectations.

Key micromanagement statistics

  • 59% of employees say they have been managed by a micromanager
  • 68% of those said it decreased their moral
  • 55% of those claimed it affected their productivity 
  • 36% of employees have changed jobs because of a micromanager

Why might someone be a micromanager?

Many micromanagers have common traits. For example, fear of being out of control. Many micromanagers have a need to control everything, hence the excessive oversight and observation of the staff in the organisation. Many micromanagers need to be seen as an authority figure, meaning that people look up to them or come to them in times of need. By micromanaging, they may think they’re giving the impression that they’re superior to their employees – whereas in reality this is just creating much more harm than good. 

How does micromanagement affect the workplace?

Micromanagers can do way more harm than good, even if they think they’re doing the right thing. Whilst it may be considered a common management style, it’s not necessarily one you should choose or fall into. 

Micromanagement can have huge effects on the workplace and the people working within it, and I’m not talking about good ones. In fact, micromanagement has been labelled one of the top three reasons that people resign from their jobs. If that’s the case, it’s surely something that needs to be addressed.

Not only that, but micromanagement can lower employee morale, by making employees feel like they’re not trusted. It can massively increase staff turnover, because you’re constantly going to have to find new employees to replace those who have left due to micromanagement. Aside from those things, it can also reduce productivity and stunt the growth potential of your business as a whole. 

Not sure if you’re a micromanager? Here’s 5 things to ask yourself…

1. Are you overflowing with approval requests and decisions to make?

As a manager, addressing requests and approving different proposals is part of your job. However, a micromanager may think about every single one of these in-depth, and take their time doing so! If that list is building up, you may be spending way too much time considering all of them before making a decision. Thinking in detail may seem good on the surface, and it can be, but if you’re taking too long it’s going to leave your employees waiting and even make them fall behind on work. They’ll be stuck somewhere in between “hurry up” and “wait”, putting them in an uncomfortable decision that could potentially cause a lot of stress and affect their quality of work.

2. Do you create new policies or systems as soon as one mistake is made?

Within a team there is always going to be a range of different performance abilities in different areas. Each person will have a different skill set and perform better or worse in different areas. So, how do you react when someone performs poorly or makes a mistake? A micromanager tends to create an entire new policy or system to try and combat this. However, this is often a mistake as it disrupts the entire team and could affect the workflow of many different people. 

Instead, you should look to create personalised solutions for the employee who may be struggling or performing poorly as to not disrupt the rest of the team.

3. Are you always sitting in on your employees important meetings?

For your new employees, it may be beneficial to sit in on their first few important meetings, just to see how they get on and give direct feedback that they can apply to their next ones. But are you still sitting in important meetings with your experienced employees? If so, this may be hindering their performance. If you’re always overseeing their meetings they may feel a sense of distrust from you and that you don’t think they can do their job correctly. From this, it may affect their quality of work and have a negative impact on their confidence. 

Speak to them about their meetings instead and see how you can support their confidence and development, rather than sitting in all of them.  

4. Do you spend a lot of time controlling every task or process?

A very common trait amongst micromanagers is that they try to control every step of a process so they stay in control. If this is you, you may spend a lot of time explaining tasks in detail to your employees, which at times can be beneficial, but when done too much could be overkill. Many micromanagers like this may enforce a specific way of doing things onto their employees and ignore what may be best for each individual person. Not everyone does things in the same way, and certain people may find different methods more efficient or effective than others. 

That’s why it’s important to recognise your employees strengths and weaknesses, and allow them to complete tasks how they see best. So long as the work is done within their realistic time frame and to the right standard, no harm is done. 

5. Do you expect daily or weekly reports from your employees?

Whilst there’s a ton of value in checking in with your employees and having regular meetings or reviews, expecting daily or weekly reports from them on what they’ve been working on is unrealistic and can cause a lot of stress or annoyance. When checking in with your employees, allocate time to do this once every few weeks. But make sure it’s not just about you wanting to know what they’re up to. Meetings or reviews should be about expressing concerns from both parties and understanding what you can do to further support your employees’ development in the business. More regular reviews may be relevant for those on Performance Improvement Plans, but for high achievers this could be a hindrance. 

Do you need support with your management style?

Are you a manager or business owner who needs support managing your team? Maybe you’ve read this article and realised you’re a bit of a micromanager?! If so, no fear… we are here to help. We offer a range of retainer packages and ad hoc support to help you develop your people management skills and build a trusted, efficient and reliable team who will help you grow a successful business. 

Call us on 01733 739660 to speak to one of our friendly, experienced people professionals.