What Are Examples Of Micromanagement

Am I A Micromanager?

Micromanagers are not all the same. In fact, there are numerous types of micromanagers with their own unique behaviors and traits. Regardless of the type of micromanagement being employed, the results are always the same: employee morale, creativity, development, and ownership are stifled, which results in decreased performance and a higher workload for the Micromanager.

It is important that you understand these different forms of micromanagers so you can identify and eliminate any of these tendencies in yourself.

The Perfectionist

This micromanager has an unrelenting desire for perfection in every aspect of their team’s work. They often excessively scrutinize details and expect flawless execution, which can create a stifling work environment. They rarely ever delegate planning to their teams.  If they do, the plan is never good enough, and they end up replacing the team’s plan with their own “better” plan. When feedback is given, it is focused on criticizing instead of teaching and developing. The Perfectionist shuts down ownership because their team realizes no matter what they do or how hard they work, it will never be good enough.

A good leader should hold high standards for themselves and their teams, but they should not expect perfection. Their high standards should be reinforced through the development, training, and mentorship of their teams.

The Control Freak

A control freak micromanager feels the need to control every single aspect of their team’s work, down to the smallest detail. They struggle to delegate tasks and often insert themselves in small decisions that do not require their input. The Control Freak’s behavior stifles growth for individuals and smothers trust within their teams. When you do not allow members of your team decision-making capability and a level of autonomy, they become frustrated and may eventually completely disengage in the expectation that their leader will just do the work themselves.

Effective leaders do not seek to control everything. Rather, they give control to their team and empower them to accomplish the task. This allows the good leader to maintain situational awareness of not only how things are proceeding on their team but also to focus on supporting other teams and think strategically.

The Intermittent Micromanager

This micromanager only intervenes when problems arise or when something doesn’t meet their standards. Instead of asking earnest questions to better understand the issue and then mentor and empower their team to take action, they step in and solve the problem themselves. This behavior robs the team members of valuable experience and development. While they may not be constantly breathing down their team’s necks, their intermittent micromanagement can foster a climate of uncertainty and anxiety as team members become hyper-vigilant, fear criticism, and shy away from interacting with their leader.

Good leaders understand that when leading through Decentralized Command, the occasional mistake will be made. Instead of overreacting or fixing the problem themselves, they use it as an opportunity to mentor and develop their team. Not only does this develop their team members and prepare them for greater levels of responsibility, but it also creates trust between the leader and their teams.

The Task-Oriented Micromanager

This type of micromanager is overly focused on tasks and processes rather than the development and empowerment of their team. They tend to treat people like tools they can wield to accomplish tasks rather than viewing them as integral parts of a team striving towards accomplishing the mission. By prioritizing the rigid completion of tasks over mentoring, developing, and empowering their team members, the Task-Oriented Micromanager leads their team to an apathetic nature where they start to disengage from the success of the mission.

The good leader understands that there are tasks that must be completed and procedures that must be followed, and they utilize both of these to empower and develop their teams. For the good leader, a task becomes a tool they can delegate to develop their team members. The need for procedures becomes an opportunity to create buy-in and ownership by allowing their teams to develop the necessary procedures themselves.

The Insecure Micromanager

This micromanager lacks confidence in their own abilities and/or in the abilities of their team members. Unfortunately for their team members, this leader uses micromanagement to compensate for their own insecurities and they exhibit their insecurity by seeking validation through exerting control over their team. The Insecure Micromanager is rarely, if ever, open to feedback and thus is destined to make the same mistakes over and over again. This creates a scenario where the team must deal with their leader’s mistakes over and over again. This behavior can foster a culture of distrust and insecurity within the team, hindering collaboration and innovation. The Insecure Micromanager tends to pass their own insecurities to their teams as members begin to question their own capabilities.

A confident leader understands that they will not have, nor are they expected to have all the answers. When faced with problems or challenges, they keep their ego in check and utilize the best tool they have for creative problem-solving: their team. By bringing in the team to solve problems, a good leader utilizes each member’s perspective, experience, and expertise to collaboratively analyze the issue from all perspectives before determining the best course of action.

Conclusion

By understanding the tendencies that create micromanagers, you can better understand your own tendencies, both positive and negative. If you recognize any of these tendencies in yourself, you must take ownership of your behavior and address the issue with your team, as it will inevitably affect their ability to be productive. By taking ownership and working to correct these behaviors you can restore trust within your team and begin to foster an environment of Decentralized Command.

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