What Is A Micromanager? Signs, Ways to Reform

What Is A Micromanager?

A micromanager is a manager, boss, or someone in a senior position who gives excessive supervision to their employees.

They tend to intimately observe, instruct, and control the action or steps of the work that employees or assigned members are supposed to do.

Such bosses or managers couldn’t let go of their control over their involvement in the project or a task that they delegated to their teammate.

They feel secure in having control over the tiniest decision-making of that task or work even though it hinders the productivity of the delegated party.

Even if their intention is the right place, their micromanagement compulsions, and behavior profoundly impact their reputation as good leaders.

Understanding Micromanagers

A micromanager is a form of leadership that seems to give good results and speaks of its popularity and adaptation to most managers or leaders, most of the time by default.

But what’s missing here is that these results are short-term and work only for a given amount of time, but in the long run, it only hurts the morale of your employees or team members.

To a certain point or in certain circumstances, Micromanagement works so well that it seems the obvious thing to do for a leadership or management position.

But Micromanagement is indeed a negative connotation, especially if you see it through the perspective of your employees or team members.

This is simply because any employee felt being condescended to and doubted when getting micro-managed.

Employees consider it a lack of trust in their leader or a lack of faith in their area of competency.

Micro Managers Vs. MacroManagers

Now, if you look at the micromanagers in contrast to Macro managers, it seems much inferior, short-term, and less competent leadership approach.

Because they are highly effective,macro-managers are more effective than micro-managers in their leadership and management approach.

Macro management is when managers or leaders give a broad objective, task, or even a mission to their teammate or employee and leave them alone to achieve the desired results.

Such leaders show confidence and instill faith in their team members that their team can do anything they can or, in fact, better without being nosy or pushy about the work or deadline.

What Is A Micromanager

Why do People Micromanage?

As you’ve already learned what a micromanager is, it is also important to learn why people micromanage in the first place.

According to a Harvard Business Review, there are two primary reasons for people to micromanage :

  • Micromanagers want to feel more connected to lower-level workers.
  • Micromanagers feel more comfortable with their old job duties rather than looking over their employees.

But there is more to it, as Leadership expert Mark Murphy adds a second layer to this: fear.

According to him, the primary cause is that people with management responsibilities are terrified of their reputation being tarnished due to a team member making a mistake.

And that’s why they try to control it or over-compensate their insecurity by over-controlling them, known as Micromanagement.

These people actually feel secure and comfortable with the job profile they have to perform high. Still, since there is no supervision role, their success in terms of promotion is assured, coming from the quality they put into their work.

But this changes when they have to put the same faith in a team member or employee with the same job profile as they are in fear of being perceived poorly if their team member or employee fails, even with a small mistake.

What Are Signs Of A Micromanager?

Once you become familiar with what a micromanager is and why people micromanage, it is crucial to look for the signs in either yourself or others as to whether you or someone else do that or not because then only you can go further to reform it.

Micromanagers can be found at your workplaces, in remote projects, or even at a new office you’re joining.

It is important to know that you are being micromanaged because not being aware of the fact sometimes births other productive or work problems.

So here are the few signs to look for in a micro-manager or being micro-managed :

  • Resistance to delegating the work or feeling it won’t be as good as they do.

  • Getting too much involved in delegated tasks or projects.

  • Interrupting too many times to ask for updates.

  • Asking team members to always CC them on every email.

  • Not easy to satisfy with delivered work.

  • Demanding unrealistic expectations or deadlines from employees

  • Spotting the usually demotivated employee or teammate

  • Having this feeling that if they need to get something done well, they have to do it by themselves.

  • Feeling that no one is as good as in the work they want to get done.

  • Asking or Expecting overtly detailed reports

  • Nitpicking too much instead of the bigger picture

  • Showing the signs of irritability towards the decisions that’ve been made without their involvement or input.

  • Telling employees or teammates how exactly they want the work to be done, not relying on their teammates or trusting them, or giving them any room to be creative or innovative.

  • Too much into measuring things and monitoring.

  • Need details daily, weekly and monthly reports from their employee

  • Not have trust in their teammates to do things on their own

  • Not believing enough in the team that they can come up with new ideas too.

  • Focus too much on unimportant detailing.

What Are The Ways To Reform a Micromanager?

Once a micromanager gets recognized or identified, there can be various steps or practices which can help him or her to reform from their habit of Micromanagement.

Here are a few things in the order they can do :

  • Start by defining the success of a project through a couple of metrics.

  • Ignore any other less important metric or vanity factor, or unnecessary detail regarding the success of the project.

  • Ignore, in fact, any undefined detail of a project as a metric.

  • Keep your doors open for guidance only if employees need or want

  • Set a deadline for each of the milestones or different well-defined states of the project with reasonable time-limit intervals on which you will be notified about the updates of the project.


What Is An Example Of Micromanaging?

The best example of micromanaging is the reluctance of people to delegate even the most minor or administrative tasks to their teammates or employees. They ask for too many frequent updates, constantly monitor every action and get obsessed with unimportant details.

What Is The Opposite Of Micromanaging?

The total opposite of micromanaging is the more independent style of management and leadership that involves giving room, space, and freedom to employees or teammates to achieve the desired results without unnecessary poking.

How To Outsmart A Micromanaging Boss?

You can outsmart or handle your micromanaging boss by assessing the situation diagnostically and getting to the root of the cause. If Micromanagement is coming from the insecurity or fear of your boss, then you be a little empathetic and see what’s bothering him or her and talk it out.

In another scenario, if you are confident about your quality of work, you can always devise strategies to outsmart their micromanaging behavior, like sending periodic updates beforehand instead of waiting for them to be asked around frequently.

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