Are you a Micromanager? Here Are Some Early Signs You’re Becoming One

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A micromanaging boss can be hard on a team or department, a drag on workplace productivity, and a general liability. So how do you know if your management style is ‘okay’ or not?

Here are some of the top signs of excessive micromanagement at work.

You Don't Have Enough Time

If you spend hours delegating things to other people in detail, hovering over them to make sure they perform their work, and criticizing them for mistakes, the end result is that you won’t have time to get your own work done. If you're always scurrying to complete paperwork and other routine tasks, ask whether too much face time with employees is upsetting the apple cart.

There's No Suggestion Box

Micromanagers are often not so good at taking input from others. If you are always sticking your nose into what your employees are doing, you probably want things done your way, and you’re not soliciting ideas from your front-line workers.

You're Always On the Floor

Take a quick snapshot of where you spend the hours in your average workday. Do you have a healthy amount of time where you're sitting at your desk, getting top-level affairs in order? Or are you always running around the bullpen, the production floor or other open area workspace, trying frantically to keep on top of what everybody else is doing? In general, everybody breathes a quiet sigh of relief when a micromanaging boss finally goes back into his or her office. Don’t make your team stew in silence – take stock of how much you hover.

You Don't Invest in Employee Education

One of the big productivity philosophies driving many successful companies now is the idea of building a team's skills, and letting team members lead the way to business process improvement. That means sending them to conferences, having them review webinars, and generally getting each person the education that he or she need to be a superstar in his or her industry. But for micromanagers, all of these things are unnecessary, because orders are always coming from the top down.

Your Employees Are Complaining

Yes, in most cases, if you're really micromanaging people too much, they're letting you know about it. But this might sometimes be in subtle ways that you can't quite pick up on. Many people, afraid to put their careers in jeopardy, don't really speak up forcefully about what their managers or supervisors are doing. They may try to use body language or other cues to show that they don't like intrusion into the ways that they do their jobs. But in a lot of cases, what's really needed is an intervention-style meeting where people really speak up and tell the truth about what's happening in their departments.

You Can't Relax

Often, too much micromanaging is driven by personality traits like perfectionism, or an obsession with details. This will often put a person on edge. If you are giving a lot of little orders during the day, some of them probably aren't followed, and each one is going to add to the frustration or stress that you feel. Instead of blowing your top, take a step back and realize that micromanaging really isn't the way to go.

Instead of giving your employees daily checklists, take your own quiz to see if you might suffer from the tendency to micromanage staff.

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