How to Easily Recognize that Your Boss is a Micromanager? |


How to Easily Recognize that Your Boss is a Micromanager?

How to Easily Recognize that Your Boss is a Micromanager?

Micromanagement is a topic that usually relates to negative behavior. A micromanager strives to control every part and even the smallest detail of an enterprise’s activity. 

This is a person who can easily stand with binoculars at the desk of an employee and demand maximum productivity and engagement. However, is this really such a scary person? Do not be surprised when you find out that Elon Musk, Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs are examples of outstanding leaders who happen to excel at micromanagement

So why do we only see the negative connotation? The goal of this post is not to upgrade your perception of what micromanagement is. However, here we’ll try to explain that a micromanager is not always a leader hated by his/her employees and society.


“The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate you away from those who are still undecided.” Casey Stengal


How to Recognize That Your Boss is a Micromanager?

There are some common signs demonstrating that your boss is micromanaging:


1. The boss gets hung up on details

Hanging up on the teensy details instead of focusing on the big picture is about a micromanager. They constantly give advice and their criticism is not always constructive.


2. He/she wants to know everything around

Good bosses don’t just distribute tasks and then disappear, they will guide you through the process. Most managers are focused on the end goal,  however, micromanagers want to control every step.


3. He/she avoids delegation

Delegation is an essential process of getting things done by others by giving them responsibilities. However, micromanagers usually do not believe that anyone else can do a decent job, so the only solution for them is to do everything themselves. They even may get the results they want at first, but later they discover that there are only 24 hours in a day.


4. You feel a lack of freedom

A micromanaging boss is constantly looking over your shoulder, thinking that you don’t have any control over your job. That lack of freedom can make you feel that your work doesn’t belong to you anymore. Let’s be honest, it is natural for people to want some form of autonomy around their work.


5. You are prohibited to make decisions

In case you’ve got to ask permission to have a coffee pause, you probably work for a micromanager. You should be allowed to make decisions just because you were hired as a professional and a qualified person for your role.


6. You give up on trying

Why should you have troubles if the boss is just going to redo the whole thing? Micromanagers are really hard to please, so you may end up with helplessness. Remember, that if you stop learning and being creative, you will also stop growing professionally. Let your boss know that you are quite ambitious. When micromanagers know that employee cares as much as they do they may be willing to loosen up a bit.


7. You are asked to constantly report

Reporting is an essential process on every hierarchy level, however, working for a micromanager can make it seem like the reporting is the job. A micromanaging boss permanently asks you for updates because he/she can’t trust the employees’ work and dedication enough.


8. Your boss complains constantly

Micromanaging bosses always look for evidence that validates their paranoia as they do not trust their employees. They can find fault everywhere, no matter how inconsequential it is. This is often resulted in sapping the motivation of their employees.


8. He/she will not share their knowledge and skills

It is always a good practice when a supervisor acts as a role model for junior employees. However, a micromanaging boss usually has little interest in mentoring, so for career beginners, it might be a crushing disappointment.


9. There is no need in your feedback

Feedback is a crucial element of the successful boss-to-employee relationship. A micromanaging boss is more interested in a one-way conversation and more irritable and explosive when faced with criticism. He/she is not interested in what they can do to improve–they only look for the weakness in others.


Micromanaging boss


As you can see, such bosses are more likely to cause negative emotions. They are unlikely to become idols and landmarks for most employees. But despite this, micromanagers have a number of positive characteristics that sometimes justify them.


What are the Advantages of Micromanagers?

There are some vivid reasons why micromanagers can be considered great and beneficial for teams and companies.

  1. Micromanagers are highly engaged and involved. They always know their team members and the work they do. They have advanced communication skills and can provide guidance.
  2. They can foresee and prevent risks. Micromanagers dive into all the details and possible drawbacks. They strive to prevent or mitigate possible negative outcomes.
  3. They strive to get the best out of people. Micromanagers do not wait for people to make mistakes. They want to reassure that every detail is being considered and taken care of. It includes mentoring and pushing team members to their potential on the go, as well as improving their skills. 
  4. They can naturally develop empathy. In many cases, micromanagers are easier able to put themselves in the shoes of the others as they know exactly what it takes to get the issues done. Their awareness about the strengths and weaknesses of their people sets the bases for knowing when to step back and when to push.
  5. Micromanagers know how to adapt their style to different characters. Their goal is a perfect outcome so they will strive to find possible ways to get all involved people on board who call for different ways of motivation, guidance, and feedback.
  6. Some of them exactly know how, what, and when they can delegate. A micromanager knows the job his/her team is doing and this is better than being a macro manager who delegates without knowing what it takes to get a certain task done. In many cases, micromanagers have such experience related to the task they are going to delegate, so they can make the right decisions when delegating. 
  7. They can improve the work of almost any given department. One of the best examples is customer support. When there is a customer complaint that can damage the reputation of the whole company, the Head of Customer Care who is a micromanager will go over every detail, consider all the sides, and try to identify the roots of the problem. It also applies to other company’s departments and processes such as updating systems, implementing changes, onboarding new employees, and so on. A good micromanager is the safety net that any department needs.


Final words

Nobody likes being micromanaged, but unfortunately, nowadays too many bosses are guilty of the poor management style. If the common signs we’ve outlined here seem true for you, you are likely working for a micromanager.

However, there is no catastrophe. You can also find positive sides working with such a boss and look for proactive strategies you can use to set healthy boundaries around your work. Shifting this management style will not be easy for sure, and it certainly won’t be immediate. Have you got such an experience? It’d be great if you share it.

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