Signs of a Micromanager Boss


One out of three people change jobs because of a micromanager, says Harry Chambers, author of "My Way or the Highway." Most people know what it's like to be micromanaged. Micromanagers, otherwise known as "control freaks," reduce productivity and hurt morale. They assert their authority and control over others because they can. Micromanagers restrict development and growth, and they end up limiting the achievement of the entire team. Defuse some of the tension you experience working for a micromanager boss by recognizing the characteristic signs.

Resists Delegating

  • Micromanagers fear a loss of control. They believe nobody else can do a task as well as they can, and it is easier for them to do it themselves rather than spend the effort teaching someone else. Micromanagers shoot themselves in the foot with this attitude. Their success is limited because they have a finite amount of time and can't do it all. Spending time upfront to develop employees' skills pays off in competent team members, increased productivity and allows the manager time to use advanced skills.

Takes Back Delegated Projects

  • Micromanagers tend to take back delegated projects at the first sign of a tiny mistake. Instead of allowing team members to problem solve, the micromanager sees a small mistake as proof he really is the only one who can do the job.

Demands Excessive Status Updates and Details

  • Micromanagers send endless emails or constantly visit the desks of their team members to check on a project's progress instead of touching base at predetermined points. They have difficulty letting go of the details. While it's important to know to know what's happening in your department, constant hovering drastically slows progress.

Tells Details of How to Do a Project Rather Than What to Do

  • Micromanagers insist on detailing exactly how a project needs to be completed, even when the employees have successfully done it before. This frustrates the workers, making then feel as though they are never trusted and are incompetent.

Must be Consulted on Every Decision

  • Micromanagers require their workers to ask permission for everything, even projects that are part of the workers' normal responsibilities. This controlling behavior treats competent adults like children.

Controls Information

  • Micromanagers feel threatened when they do not know the answer to a problem. To retain their sense of power, they don't refer their worker to someone who can help. They also don't share important information with others so they can feel more powerful.

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