The Dreaded Micromanager

We’ve all probably had one in our careers. How many of you fear  the micromanager? You know the boss who monitors your every move and won’t get out of his/her own way.

Defining It

A micromanager uses a style where special attention is paid to every single facet of a task, down to the smallest details. A micromanager will take charge of every aspect of their employees’ jobs, controlling to the point where there is no chance for creativity, out-of the box thinking or new ideas.

The Devil Is in the Details

While this may be true, requiring a thorough account of a project instead of a quick summary can be a waste of time for everyone involved. It is common for a manager to ask for project updates to ensure that everything is coming in on time and within budget, but checking on every single detail is rarely necessary.

Withholding Information

A manager may feel more in control of what’s going on by concealing important information from subordinates, but this is often an inefficient, inappropriate way to deal with issues and can impede the productivity of employees.

What to Do – Not How to Do It

A micromanager will often tell the staff what to do and how to do it. This can be a way for the manager to appear more productive to his or her superiors, but this controlling tactic will also hinder creativity and destroy employee morale.

Taking Back Assigned Tasks

Some micromanagers, believing that they can do things quicker and better, may take back tasks that were originally assigned to their team. Along with decreasing morale, this can reduce the team’s development and diminish learning opportunities.

Mother May I?

One sign of micromanaging is requiring team members to frequently ask permission for even the most insignificant matters. The constant need to ask permission impedes team members’ ability to make their own decisions regarding a task, a project, or an issue. It also obstructs workflow progress and can have an impact on important deadlines.

Quite the opposite of empowering, trusting, inspiring and challenging others, micromanagers over-control and cause much damage.

Micromanagers usually believe that their way is the best way. In the short term this can work to their advantage, but over time it can negatively influence the productivity of both micromanager and team, as well as impact the time that should be spent taking a more strategic look at the big picture. They say people quit their bosses, not the company. The world needs less micromanagers to be sure.

Do you have a classic micromanager story? Leave a comment and let us know.