Micromanaging Your Employees

May 23, 2022


According to Indeed – while micromanagers usually have the best of intentions, their behavior can impact team morale and performance. It can also slow down productivity because there’s the perception that this manager doesn’t fully trust the team to perform jobs.


A micromanager is a boss or manager who gives excessive supervision to employees. As mentioned by Investopedia – a micromanager, rather than telling an employee what task needs to be accomplished and by when, he/she will watch the employee’s actions closely and provide frequent criticism of the employee’s work and process.


Of course, there are still the advantages of acting tough and seeing every detail of a project. As listed by Indeed, here are some of these advantages:

  • Highly-involved and highly-engaged
  • Influence business-critical tasks
  • Get the best out of their team
  • Add value to any department
  • Know to whom they should delegate
  • Develop empathy naturally


But these advantages are overshadowed by its negative effects on the workforce and the quality of work, in general. And oftentimes, these micromanagers are not even aware that they are becoming what they say they will not become. Thus, the question is – Are you a micromanager? Check these signs, as listed by Indeed:  


  1. Resist delegating work
  2. Become overly involved in the work of their employees
  3. Discourage independent decision-making
  4. Ask for frequent updates
  5. Expect overly-detailed reports on a regular basis
  6. Look at every detail rather than focusing on the bigger perspective
  7. Prefer to be cc’d on every email
  8. Have an unusually high turnover of employees
  9. Are rarely satisfied with deliverables
  10. Suggest unrealistic deadlines
  11. Routinely ask employees to stop their work to take care of emergency work
  12. Become irritable when decisions are made independently without their input
  13. Find that team members are usually demotivated
  14. Feel that if a task is to be done right, you/they should do it themselves
  15. Take on the role of the project manager even when PM has already been assigned
  16. Tell employees exactly how tasks should be done, leaving no room for creativity and initiative
  17. Continually monitor the behavior and activities of employees to see what they are working on
  18. Focus on unimportant details
  19. Insist that all work processes are documented
  20. Re-do the work of employees after it has been finished
  21. Communicate with employees outside of business hours
  22. Require weekly and monthly activity reports from every employee
  23. Believe that team members never take initiative or come up with new ideas
  24. Employees are never allowed to attend meetings on your behalf
  25. Measure and monitor everything


Mentioned earlier were the advantages but we all know that there are numerous negative effects of micromanaging. Among them are listed by Indeed:  

    1. Waste Time
    3. Micromanagers spend a significant portion of their time overseeing the work of others, time that could be spent on more productive endeavors, such as developing systems or creating new processes. Micromanagers often inundate themselves with details that their team members are often capable of handling independently.
    1. Reduce Job Satisfaction
    3. Micromanaging can create stress for both the manager as well as the employee. The micromanager can become frustrated by employees who aren't completing tasks as they were instructed and the employees can feel that they are not trusted to do their jobs. Thus, creating a self-perpetuating cycle, where managers become increasingly frustrated and employee performance decreases because they are unhappy in their roles.
    1. Lower Creativity and Efficiency
    3. Micromanagers often give specific directions about how they believe tasks should be accomplished. While this can work well with new employees or those who are not comfortable self-directing, it can also limit the employee's ability to develop new, efficient, creative ways of performing the tasks associated with their roles. Employees are also denied the sense of accomplishment that accompanies finding better ways to do their jobs.
    1. Reduce Employee Motivation
    3. Since micromanagers struggle to let go, employees can become demotivated and less confident in their own abilities. They feel their work will never live up to standard and so they become less productive and create a less successful product.


    If you are a micromanager and you can admit that you are, you must do something. Before all your efforts go to waste. But of course, you need self-discipline and determination to do this. Here’s a list from Investopedia to reform the self and save the company from your own mismanagement:  
    1. Set a couple of metrics that define success for any given project. Ignore every other detail that is not defined.
    1. Delegate “what” needs to be done and leave out the “how.”
    1. Have an open-door policy for members of the team to use for coaching or further guidance if and when they want it.
    1. Set a deadline for each stage of an assigned project, after which a meeting with a reasonable time limit should be conducted to receive updates on the work.
    As mentioned by Process St, even in situations where the pros of micromanagement are allowed to shine through, it ultimately isn’t worth the long-term issues and bad habits such a system creates.
    Added Process St, even when you have a team small enough to effectively micromanage, you still run the risk of alienating employees, diminishing their trust in you, making them dependent on micromanagement and causing team to burn out.  
    And as a reminder to self, the term “self-discipline” is redundant by itself. Because discipline if not from the self is not discipline. That would be fear.

More Articles