Are you a micromanager? Or do you just work for one? 5 ways to tell

Adebola Alabi
3 min readMar 16, 2023

79% of employees have been micromanaged at least once in their career.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Are you a micromanager?

Okay, let’s look around the room; no one will pop their hands up and admit they micromanage. Yet, a majority of managers do micromanage; according to a survey by LinkedIn reported that 79% of employees have been micromanaged at least once in their career.

Let’s help you here — Who is a micromanager?

A micromanager is a boss who gives excessive supervision of the small details and a desire to exert more control over the employee’s day-to-day activities. (Emphasis on excessive). Oops…that’s clear enough.

A micromanager may fall into the 3 categories below:

  • They unintentionally micromanage — They have good intentions and want to help, but they overdo things because they lack the self-awareness to know when to back off. If you don’t let people do anything independently, they won’t grow.
  • They intentionally micromanage — This shows that they don’t trust the people that work with them. If this is due to a lack of competence, train them. You will only end up overworking yourself; let your people work on what they get paid to do.
  • They refuse to accept that they micromanage; in this case, their direct reports need to have a conversation with them to let them know that they are driving them crazy.

No matter the case, people don’t enjoy being micromanaged, and micromanagers drive people crazy and make others feel incompetent.

For those that lack awareness, here are some signs to tell you that you micromanage.

  1. Your calendar is booked with meetings all day, all week. You feel like things don’t go well except if you are directly involved. You have become a bottleneck to your organization. People prefer to work with catalysts.
  2. No one makes any decision except you. You refused to empower people in your team to make any decisions, and you want them to check with you before making any decision. That’s not cool.
  3. Nothing is right until you have inserted your opinion. You constantly have to monitor the work that everyone in the team is doing, and you tend to redo the work that someone in your team has already completed. You must really think you know it all. Guess what? Without you, the organization will still exist.
  4. You set unrealistic expectations. You feel like a task you should be completed in 1 hour. If someone in your team takes 1 hour and 1 minute to do the same task, in your opinion, that means they don’t measure up. You will put on your criticism cap and pounce on them. You are demotivating them; they need a motivator.
  5. You not only monitor work progress, but you also want to know where all your team members are and want the details on whatever they are working on. You frequently ask for updates on an update. Okay, this is where you will start losing good people in your team. You need to stop.

You micromanage as a way to be on top of the situation at work, but it negatively impacts the morale and confidence of your team, and this may impact your organization over time if not stopped. You should work with your team, coach them, give them responsibilities, and make them accountable for the results. Doing this will create a work environment where everyone improves their competencies and have a sense of ownership.



Adebola Alabi

A Certified Financial Education Instructor. Mission is to help bring out the best in others. Thanks for reading my work. Check my website