6 Warning Signs That You Are Micromanaging Your Team

If a badge of infamy was to be given to bad managers, “micro-manager” would be the label. What if you are given the badge? It’s not easy to be a manager, so it might be that you are micromanaging, but of course, that should not be the case. Here’s what you should learn about micromanagement. 

Have you ever overheard the term, “helicopter parents”? According to Wikipedia, a helicopter parent is a parent who pays close attention to a child’s experiences and problem, overseeing every aspect of their child’s life regularly. Well, that’s what micro-managers are to their teams. 

What is micromanagement?

Let’s start with a definition of micromanagement. Micromanagement is a management style whereby a manager closely observes and controls the work of his/her subordinates or employees. A person who has to have their hands into anything. 

Micromanaging occurs when the manager is too involved in the details. It is a state where the manager is obsessed over every minor detail and closely observes everything a subordinate or an employee does. Nevertheless, it is one of the most common management style.

Micromanagement breeds discontent, disloyalty, and unengaged employees. If you hired someone, it means you believe they are capable of doing the job, then why micromanagement? Trust them to get it done. 

Micromanagement is a killer. Perhaps, one research from Harvard Medical School instructor Jonathan D. Quick, says that “the management qualities of ‘bad’ bosses over time exert a heavy toll on employees’ health. Not just this, micromanaging influences employee satisfaction. 

In My Way or the Highway: The Micromanagement Survival Guide, a book by Harry E. Chambers’, 85% of survey respondents said their morale was worsened by the effects of micromanagement.

If this sounds like you, you got to find the right give and take. Your team members will probably be afraid to punch you in the face (telling you that you are a micro-manager), you can know it yourself. 

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How do you know if you are a micro-manager? Well, if you are not sure that you are a micro-manager, read on to identify your habits and what you can do to address them.

You don’t follow the 70% rule

Are you the type of person who thinks that the only way the task can be done right is if you do it yourself? You think no one can do it better than you – you are micromanaging. Because of this at the end of the day, you may feel like you just don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything, despite juggling well through your responsibilities. 

Quick fix

Trust is an important factor when it comes to delegation. Smart managers use the “70 percent rule”. This means, if you believe, that the person will be able to perform 70% of the task, you should delegate it. This art of delegation involves letting go and trusting that your team members will take the ball, without expecting “perfection” (the way you would do it). You can use an online work management tool to delegate tasks to specific people as per their skills and availability, they will discover new ways to do things.

You don’t see the forest for the trees

Micro-managers spend more time looking at the trees and lose sight of the big forest they’re managing. You are more focused on managing a particular person or one group that you completely forget the rest of the team. For example, instead of updating an existing document with current facts, a micro-manager will ask a person to create a whole new document. These decisions mean you’re not using the best of your resources, that is leading you in circles instead of moving you forward.

Quick fix

Take time to access your responsibilities as a manager. Reevaluate your and your team’s priorities because you should understand that every effort is valuable and needs to be protected. Make a schedule on a calendar to focus on higher-level thinking and the big picture to not to get caught up in the little details. 

You suffer from report mania

You’re overwhelmed with status reports and updates if you are asking your team members for daily “plan of the day” and “end of day report”.  Particularly, unnecessary and detailed reports. If you see yourself doing this often, you’re surely micromanaging because you don’t trust your employees’ dedication. You don’t give them a chance to grow (the personal autonomy they need) and keep on asking for reports just to serve your anxiety about progress. 

Quick fix

Asking for reports is fine if you want them to include the information connected to long-term objectives, but daily reports, twice a day, is frustrating. Simply set up key goals that confirm that the work is done to achieve the milestones. When you see the goals are met, you can track the progress. 

micromanaging your team

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You oversee a co-worker several times in a day

Micromanagers are often dropping-in to check on their team or on employees’ desks to question them with something (ask them about progress every time). Your employees will need your input but it’s a different thing if you’re bothering them to check up on progress. All in all, you display the traits of “control freak”.

Quick fix

Don’t interrupt them with their tasks, instead, focus on the outcomes and goals, then ask your employees how they would approach the situation. Allow your employees to make mistakes, because this is the way you’re helping them grow. You can also make it clear during meetings how you’d want the progress to be communicated, instead of always, “Just checking in on this?”

You obsess about the process

This is another sign that you are micromanaging – being control-obsessed. You are always seen as giving instructions for even simple tasks. When you give directions on how to complete tasks throughout the process, this slips the chance for your team to be creative or innovative. They will feel their creative freedom being violated. 

Quick fix

Rather than being obsessed about every step, clearly communicate your expectations and gather the entire team on the same page using a project management tool to have a look for the progress, plans, and problems without inundating them throughout the process. 

You hate decisions being made without you

You’ve hired people because of their qualifications and skills and if you react or feel irritated whenever they do not ask you for every small decision, it could be a red flag. Micro-managers indirectly resent the ideas or decisions that are made without involving them (even if they completely like what has been decided). 

Quick fix

Allow them to bring their expertise to the work. Stop interrupting in every smallest task. Give employees the autonomy they expect and deserve. You’ve hired them for the job, let them grow. 

In Summary

Micromanagement isn’t worth the hassle.

If this sounds like you, don’t be hopeless! Good that you now know that you were micromanaging. You can change your ways by a little bit of strategising and a whole lot of self-awareness. No one wants micromanagement! Get on the path to be a productive leader. Good luck. 


About the Author

Vartika Kashyap is the Marketing Manager at ProofHub – a simple project management tool and a powerful Asana alternative. This Asana alternative not only simplifies project management but also aims to increase team productivity with quick team collaboration. Vartika likes to write about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, entrepreneurship among others and contributing to a better workplace is what makes her click.

Team 6Q

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