Micromanager supervising reporting

From Dictionary.com

Micromanage – Verb – to control (a business or project) with excessive attention to minor details

Micromanaging. We’ve all been on the receiving end of this, and at times we’ve also been the person doing the micromanaging.  It is frustrating.  Making us feel that our skills and knowledge are not valued. The impact on your business can be drastic.

It is necessary to distinguish micromanagement from mismanagement.  With mismanagement, the manager is performing the work rather than assigning it to someone else.  As a result, the manager is not seeing the bigger picture and missing opportunities.  With micromanagement, the manager is telling someone else what to do, but also dictating the way to do it.

Quite often the micromanager is not aware of their actions, or the impact it is having on others.  It is like an addiction as they become dependent on their control over other people.  Micromanaging can look like workplace bullying.  It could be a sign of an underlying problem with the manager, including,

  • Lack of confidence in own skills
  • Lack of management experience
  • OCD tendencies
  • Possible mental health issues
  • etc.

What causes Micromanaging?

There are so many different potential causes, the total list would be never-ending.  This list covers some of the more common ones.

Workplace culture  

This is often found in companies where the focus on performance drives the need to push people.  They often believe that they can hire someone else to replace people who leave.

Lack of experience of the manager

This is particularly key for someone who is new to a management role.  It is likely they have come from a “doing” background and find it hard to let go of the work they used to do.  They need a good mentor to guide them through the process and enable them to step up into their new role.

The personality of the Manager

You could say this is “blame the person”.  The manager may have underlying personality issues, including lack of self-confidence, emotional insecurity, or generally be a detail-oriented person.

Poor Delegation

There is no a clear process for delegating work.  Or the manager does not have a clear understanding of delegation.

Staff Retention

In extreme cases, the manager may be setting unrealistic standards.  The aim of these is to drive out staff members as they become so disillusioned that they find another job.

How can you identify a Micromanager?

There are many possible ways a micromanager will function, including,

  • Always asking for updates and status reports
  • Dictating how work will be performed
  • Clock watching to ensure people are at their desks and appearing to work
  • Very limited delegation of work
  • Concentrating too much on the details and not seeing the bigger picture.
  • Usually concentrates on the least important areas
  • Very rarely meets deadlines, as too caught up in the details
  • Does not allow others to make decisions, and puts people down when they do make a decision
  • Appears overloaded with work, generally because they can not let go of what they have
  • Becomes a bottleneck in all decisions
  • Sets tests, then use the results of these to show that someone cannot do the work, or that they are disloyal

Impacts of being a Micromanager

A micromanager can have a major impact on your business.  Some of the ways include,

  • Demoralised teams
  • Missed deadlines
  • Missed business opportunities
  • High turnover of team members
  • Team members taking stress and sick leave

Impacts on a Micromanagers Team

As well as the impact on the business, there are other major impacts on the team, including,

  • A frustrated team that is showing a lack of confidence in themselves
  • Team members perform the least amount of work needed to keep the micromanager quiet.  In other words procrastination.
  • They do not bring their creativity and skills to push the business forward.
  • People who are not growing their skills and knowledge
  • A lack of pride in their work, so mistakes are slipping through


We all come across micromanagers.  We all suffer in some way because of them.

Micromanagers have a large impact on the functioning of your business.  This results in low performing staff, poor results and a business that is not performing at its full potential.  Being aware of this, and knowing what to look for, allows you to address these issues before they harm your business.

There are many ways you can address these micromanagement issues.  Details of some of these are in the next post.


For some steps on how to survive a micromanager please read this post.

If you are micromanaging your team or people please read this post.


For information on how Next Actions can help your business, please complete the enquiry form below.

Also published on Medium.