Micromanagement is excessive oversight of an employee’s work. When a manager hovers, it causes the employee to feel mistrusted to competently do the work assigned. It can tear down motivation since having autonomy is highly valued by most employees. Below are listed the telltale signs of micromanagement. Identify those that you frequently display to determine if you are slipping into this potentially destructive behavior pattern.
1. You resist delegating work to others. High control needs cause you to hang tight to work others could clearly do.
2. When you do assign work, you check in frequently to oversee what’s being done.
3. You expect a great deal of reporting on work being done, even when the person doing the work has a stellar track record.
4. You worry when you don’t have control of the work.
5. You make many suggestions for changes when most of them are not really necessary.
6. Once someone has shown competence in doing something, you don’t back off checking in.
7. You sometimes take credit for work you assigned to others.
8. You ask to be copied on all email.
9. You measure everything, even when previous data doesn’t indicate a problem.
10. Even though the outcome is good, you become frustrated when a staff person does something differently than you would have done it.
If you discovered you have five or more of these traits, develop an action plan to reduce the amount of control you exert over others’ work. Establish fewer checkpoints, then discipline yourself to only review work at those times. With your highest performers, ask them to come to you when they need assistance and avoid monitoring altogether. If you let go, you may be surprised to learn how much you can trust your staff to do their work, while you spend more time on true leadership tasks.
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