The Fear That Lies Beneath Micromanaging

I hope you spent some time last week appreciating and acknowledging your staff. This week we continue with the second blog in our four part “bad boss” series.

This is one of those topics that makes anyone listening round their shoulders and groan loudly… it’s the dreaded subject of “micromanaging.”

If we take a deeper look at micromanaging, what we find is that this behavior is actually fear! Micromanaging can stem from a variety of fears as it relates to leadership. When leaders do not have the confidence in their ability to effectively lead others they tend to resort to controlling behaviors as a method for bridging the gap.

Conversely when leaders are confident in their ability to hire, train, coach and develop, they are much more inclined to let go of the reins and trust their staff. These leaders understand that with the right processes, measures and assessments in place they can course correct if things should venture off track.

Ineffective leaders often see the world in terms of extremes and tend to believe that there is only one way to accomplish a task. The truth behind that belief lies in one’s inability to see the “gray” of life. When leaders view the world in terms of black and white they stifle the creativity and innovation of their staff. Allowing others to assume responsibility builds trust and is the bedrock for developing high performing teams and employees. 

It is difficult to believe that micromanaging is still prevalent in today’s workplace, but it is. Time after time I see companies promoting employees into leadership positions with relatively no training or development. Employees are somehow expected to “know” how to operate in a leadership role without ever having done so. As such, they may default to micromanaging employees to ensure the task is completed the way that they believe it should. This practice is a disservice to the leader, staff and organization.

If you are a leader who tends to micromanage take some time to ask yourself why you feel the need to do so. In addition, try and identify the negative impact this is having on the staff. If you don’t know the answer, simply ask them. I assure you they will be happy to provide you that feedback.

No behavior is changed overnight so if you tend to micromanage, go easy on yourself. Develop some achievable goals around “letting go” or perhaps develop a plan in collaboration with your team.

Think in terms of “macro” management as the goal and the most beneficial approach for everyone involved.

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