Self-Reflection Time: Are You a Micromanager?

Micromanaging is defined as insisting on having a say in an employee’s work at every opportunity, and every manager does it to some extent. Why? Primary reasons include the belief that you can do a task better yourself and the fear that poor employee performance will reflect badly on you.

It isn’t good for your employee relationships because your reports will resent you for keeping them from doing their jobs. And it isn’t good for your career, since your productivity will inevitably suffer as you work on your employee’s tasks instead of focusing on what you should be doing as the leader.

You can avoid micromanaging by giving your employees the freedom to accomplish tasks in their own way. Make your expectations clear at the beginning of a task, and once you are certain that everyone understands what needs to be accomplished, keep your hands out of it. As long as employees are getting results, don’t be so concerned with the process.

If the temptation to micromanage is too great, nip it in the bud with two critical actions.  First, set up regular check-in meetings with your reports so that you can receive updates and provide guidance, and don’t spontaneously call them, email them, or appear in their offices unannounced at any other time. Then, create an anonymous survey for your reports that assesses how much – and on what – they feel they are being micromanaged, and what they suggest to combat it.

One of the most important traits of a good leader is the ability to develop and empower her people so that they can contribute autonomously. Even if it’s uncomfortable now, in the long run it will be worth the effort on your part.

Alexandra Levit is a Partner at PeopleResults and is passionate about helping people and organizations succeed in the evolving workplace. You can reach her at or on Twitter @alevit.