Why Managers Love Micromanagement?


It’s hard watching someone make mistakes, especially if you already know how to avoid them. Staying silent while they slip up (or even do things in ways you would not) is harder. That doesn’t mean you have an excuse to micromanage them.
Micromanagement is the ultimate controlling management style. It’s demoralizing and counter-intuitive, as the desire for control to make sure everything goes to plan only creates more problems in the long-term. Do you like to micromanage or let people take ownership and show responsible behavior?

Leadership Development
Management Development
Managerial Skills
Masarrat A Shah
32 months ago

12 answers


People should be able to take their own decisions and work freely. As a leader one should coach/guide but not micromanage as this shows insecurity of the leader and at the same time keeps from developing the employee.

Daniela Girniceanu
32 months ago
Thanks Daniela, yes Managers have to act as Mentors and support their employees in their growth and development. - Masarrat A 32 months ago

Micromanagers use this to cover their lack of leadership ability. They think that closely checking everyone's work will lead to a more efficient operation. It actually leads to a standstill as micromanagement takes a long time (everything has to go across the bosses desk) and provides no vision to the team.

David Cottrell
32 months ago
Plus people working for that Manager also, loose interest in working and in worst cases resignations happen because of such Managerial style. - Masarrat A 32 months ago

How many first time managers are trained NOT to micromanage when they first start? Management is often the attempt to control a situation where there is very little. Micromanagement is very easy response to this lack of feeling of control. You need to be trained out of it.

Darin S. Olson
32 months ago
Darin, as I mentioned above Micromanagement is fear of loosing control, fear of seeing things failing and not having trust on employees. We need to change that prespective of emerging Managers. - Masarrat A 32 months ago

In the beginning, despite all the assumptions we make about managers' intentions, I think many managers fall into micromanagement simply because they have never experienced anything else - they were micromanaged by their boss, and they've never been taught anything else. And that happens because organisations promote high performers, who are people who are good at detail and problem solving, so as managers they carry on doing the thing that got them rewarded and promoted. And when things get busy and stressful, people are under pressure and intervening and controlling just feels better - you are seen to be doing something.

I've lost count of the number of times I've had this conversation with people I am coaching. The way I've summarised it is that their job has shifted, from delivering results, to building the system that delivers results. We then nearly always end up with me teaching them how to have what I've labelled 'contracting conversations' with people - not controlling and micromanaging, but not pure coaching either. They are coaching style conversations where the leader still has an opinion but they hold it back and contribute only when it's needed.

Alan A
32 months ago
Alan this approach of Management is not healthy at all, people get suffocated and blame organisation. The productivity and the Customer experience takes hit because of such management, - Masarrat A 32 months ago
Hi Massarat. I don't think I said it was healthy - just that it's very common because people don't know what to do instead. The person who has done most work in this area is Barry Oshry - don't know if you've seen his work? - Alan 32 months ago
I would also recommend Ken Blanchard and his work on situational leadership as another way to understand how much involvement managers need to have in their subordinate's work-- - Ellen 32 months ago
Alan, Ellen I agree with you guys on these theories and what experts say or have come up with, BUT what I am saying is this whole fails in practical world, and this bitter truth. - Masarrat A 32 months ago
I have to disagree Masarrat, because I've worked in organisations with people who don't use a controlling management style, and I've coached and trained hundreds of leaders to change their style, but it's hard work. Everyone has to learn this for themselves - we can't force people to change. - Alan 32 months ago
We can't force people, yes that's right statement, Alan. - Masarrat A 32 months ago

I don't believe any but the most aloof manager love micromanagement. Some inexperienced managers default to this style as they fell they must have a handle on every aspect of the operation, but as they learn to trust and truly lead their teams they drop micromanagement for macromanagement. Managing to the larger picture, the long term success of the team and the company.
I have noticed in a few of your replies to other comments that you are holding to your assumption that micromanagement is a popular, wide spread and chosen management style. I disagree based on my experiences with leading personally, mentoring and growing new leaders and studying both management and workplace efficiency. Micromanagement is an early career misstep that happens fairly frequently but is abandoned once the individual learns there are better ways. Many people have experienced a senior manager that still micromanages, and this is unfortunate, but it is not the default style and it certainly isn't the most prevalent.

Oren Birks, MBA
32 months ago
Thanks Oren for your prespective, I am Manager and mentored lot of new Managers, what I see around is one of the reason of micromanaging is not having trust on your employees and try to get into minor to minor things. They feel if we give control, they may not do what is expected. Fear of giving ownnership. What is your thought? - Masarrat A 32 months ago
Agree with you Masarrat A Shah, micromanagement demotivates people, resist delegating work and loose loyalty - Paolo 32 months ago

Personally speaking I don't like micromanagement. I feel this like a lack of trust in subordinates and reports in general. It create tensions and stress and no trust at all. At the end people will stop taking initiatives as worried for any consequence.

Paolo Beffagnotti
32 months ago
Absolutely, Paolo see my above comments, and I am talking about lack of trust and fear of loosing control over the staff. - Masarrat A 32 months ago

They don't love it. It's because they are insecure and don't have trust in their people to get the job done on their own

Wayne Tarken, CSM, SPHR
32 months ago
Totally ,. Wayne - Masarrat A 32 months ago

I don't think all managers love that but those who do - because they don't have to inspire anything to their team. Micromanaging is an example of setting a "No Trust" environment. If you do so - you are creating an unproductive system that will kill your performance eventually as a Manager.

Hitesh Mathpal
32 months ago
Absolutely Hitesh, and we need Managers to have trust on their Employees and be giving ownership they actually prepare them for growth. - Masarrat A 32 months ago

I think #MicroManagement is an outcome of lack of confidence in others. Once anyone starts to believe, they stop being petty.

Khalid Raza
31 months ago

Micromanagement is a weakness in a manager's ability to lead. It stems from insecurity and the inability to trust. There is only one pro - greater control. The cons are many - employee resentment, increased turnover, negative cultural impact, wasted time for managers and all the costs associated with these.

Vic Clesceri
31 months ago
Absolutely Vic, agree with you. - Masarrat A 31 months ago

Simply, because they don't know really what a good management is. More inept they are, you will see more Micromanagement in action.

Hassan Qudrat-Ullah
31 months ago
Hassan Qudrat-Ullah, we cannnot totally say that they are not aware, I can say they are insecure or they are adamant to pass on the ownership to others. - Masarrat A 31 months ago

I don't agree that managers love to "micromanage". In my experience, some managers indulge in this practice because they are actually not very good at managing people (art and science). Others do it out of insecurity. I also believe it is quite common that this term is applied by someone unhappy with how they are being managed.

I have been a manager many times and do not care to micromanage, but I also learned it takes practice and trust to be truly effective at this artform.

Ross A. Leo
31 months ago
Ross, me being also Manager have seen what Micromanagement is, there was a time when I used to Micromanage because my team was young out of college and were not ready for taking ownership. So, I had to Micro-manage and then slowly take one of them and mentor and start giving ownership. But there are Managers who are insecure and fail to turst others. - Masarrat A 31 months ago

Have some input?