Here Is What Micromanagement Looks Like

Almost no one would admit to being a micromanager. They are just “detail-oriented” or focused on getting things “perfect.” While these phrases sound much better than “I like to nit-pick my employees’ work!” your employees see through it. 

Leadership coach and speaker Sarah Noll Wilson tweeted the following:

And she got great responses that give insight into exactly what micromanagers do.

For example:

To keep reading, click here: Here Is What Micromanagement Looks Like

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10 thoughts on “Here Is What Micromanagement Looks Like

  1. I had a manager once who emailed everyone in the office a printout showing when people had swiped their badges to enter the office — to complain about people arriving late or “tail-gating” by coming in behind someone else, without swiping their own badge. This was a law office in which all of the employees were FLSA-exempt, signed in and out of the office on a paper log sheet that included the times of the entries, were required to email the entire office any time they would be out of the office during their normal workhours (plus the reason), and time clocks were verboten under Agency policy. As if that weren’t excessive enough, the printout also showed when people had badged into the restrooms and how long they had stayed in there, with the manager spending the most time in the bathroom of all.

  2. I would love to read your post today, but Inc. is now requiring a paid subscription. Can you put the entire post on your website?

    1. This may be a browser issue. It displays for me (without a subscription) in Google Chrome.

  3. I’m a new supervisor and tried not to micro-manage, but as luck would have it, my new employee NEEDS to be constantly reminded of things, asked for status updates, etc. It’s so hard learning to manage with a style you don’t need or appreciate. But I guess that’s the nuance of managing – knowing what style to use with each person.

    1. But does your employee need to get those reminders from you? Try this: “I see that you need reminders to get xyz things done, and I can’t do that for you. Let’s talk about ways you can do that for yourself” and then discuss things like putting reminders on your private calendar, or using a to-do-list software that can pop up reminders, or even just they email their day’s list with you in the morning and then what they got finished in the evening.
      In other words, you have noticed a Thing your employee needs to do, and you’re pointing out the need to them, and you let them figure out the “how”. (If they really can’t ever manage their time without handholding, maybe they’re not the best person for that position?)

      1. Thank you for that confirmation. I’m working on coaching her in that direction. For context, she’s in her mid-20s and has said she has ADD.

        Moving from being in the office where the environment helps put you in a work mindset to working from home when you have so many additional potential distractions has definitely been a challenge for her. So I’m trying to help her navigate that as well.

  4. Micromanage: tell employee HOW to do job
    Not micromanage: tell employee result needed, time frame – can include updates as needed (daily/weekly) depending on urgency and complexity of assignment, and offer to answer questions.
    Weekly or Biweekly one-on-one meetings and monthly department meeting for status updates and feedback keep everyone on the same page and informed – no surprises (mostly, anyway)
    As a manager, if I know about an issue, I can competently protect you against ill-informed accusations; if you keep me in the dark, I’m not competently able to protect you if you are blamed for productivity issues.

  5. I have found over the years that people who micro-manage usually have a problem accepting different methods used to achieve results because they are afraid to allow others to not be dependent on them. It is basically the same method as helicopter parenting.

  6. 9:30 AM What is your status on project ABC?
    9:50 AM What is your status on project ABC?
    10:10 AM What is your status on project ABC?
    10:35 AM What is your status on project ABC?
    11:00 AM What is your status on project ABC?
    11:15 AM What is your status on project ABC?
    11:30 AM Are you still working on project ABC? You need to learn how to keep focused.

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