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What is micromanagement

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

What is micromanagement, beyond just a disservice to employees

What is micromanagement, beyond just a disservice to employees

Have you ever been micromanaged? If you have, you know it and are probably bristling right now at the thought of that experience.

There are various management styles, micromanaging being one of them. What is micromanagement exactly?

For those of you who are subjected to it, it’s a big pain in the butt and totally unnecessary. For those who do it, they apparently cannot help themselves because they do not know how to trust others to work independently.

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Bosses who are micromanagers tend to alienate those who are working for them or with them because they are controlling and don’t allow others to make decisions. Sooner or later an employee is probably going to encounter a boss, a co-worker or a partner in life that hovers over them, looking over their shoulder, questioning every move and decision that is made. This is annoying and it indicates that the micromanager does not have faith or confidence in the other person’s ability to do the job, which is insulting.

When someone micromanages he takes away power from the person who has been trusted to do the job. A micromanager is essentially saying that he doesn’t believe the worker can execute the task at hand without his constant supervision.

A micromanager is unable to delegate tasks. Instead, he sticks his nose into every facet of the project; doesn’t allow others to make independent decisions; is compelled to oversee every detail of a project; gets hung up on minutiae rather than looking at the big picture and often reclaims the project before it is completed if he has found something that he considers to be a mistake.


When a worker is subjected to this type of micromanagement, it undermines his confidence. He becomes unsure and perhaps even paralyzed because he fears that he is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

When a person isn’t allowed to make decisions and then live with the consequences of that decision, good or bad, he is never going to mature or develop skills and reach his full potential as a person and a worker.

A micromanager — whether it’s a boss or a spouse or a parent — disempowers the person they are hovering over. As a result, the person then becomes ineffectual at work and in life. The micromanager is doing a grave disservice to others.

Effective management

On the flip side, a good manager is involved but not overly involved. She trusts her employees to do the job. This is the way to run a business.

A manager that wants his workers to succeed sets up a work scenario that is conducive to success. A micromanager does the opposite. He makes it impossible for his employees to succeed. A good manager hands over power to his employees; a micromanager does not.

Micromanagers are often described as control freaks. He thinks he is the only one capable of having an original thought and refuses to delegate jobs. A good manager is good at delegating and has confidence in his employees. He recognizes that his employees have good ideas.

When a worker or a person isn’t allowed some autonomy, this inhibits his ability to grow and it also does a real number on the person’s self-confidence. The person is afraid that he will be punished by his micromanager if he does make a mistake. This creates “Yes” men and women because it is easier and safer to go along with the controlling boss.

Well-meaning parents can become micromanagers, which is a mistake. A child has to learn to make decisions on his own. If he makes the wrong choice, he suffers the consequences but this is how he learns. Failure is a part of the growth process and isn’t necessarily bad.


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