Home / Workforce Management / Management Skills / Stop Micromanaging

Stop Micromanaging

Stop Micromanaging

Although the boardroom and the locker room may appear to be worlds apart, the truth is that being a good leader can make or break a team in any arena.

The contenders at the upcoming Super Bowl 2018, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, epitomize teams that are built and lead by people who inspire positive actions in others.

Getting that win, including the prized Super Bowl title on February 4, is all about effectively commanding a great game plan that lets players/workers shine and work their magic because ultimately they are responsible for an organization’s success or failure. You can’t win without them.

Being hands-on and collaborative is good for building a star team and team spirit but there are definitely a few management styles that are going to see lots of interceptions and little gains. Maybe you’ve been called the dreaded “M” word? Micromanager! That hurts! It’s a major fumble and isn’t going to get a buy-in from your team, nor create depth for long-term success. Actually, you can bet on major point deductions from upper management too.

Being a good coach/manager is not about bossing – it’s about leading. There’s a major difference between delegation and knit-picking and if you want to guide your team to success, quit helicoptering over people in the trenches.

Directing team members on each and every detail, decision, and action related to the job isn’t going to get things into the end zone. Actually, whether it’s coming from a fear of failure or job insecurity, or even improper training, trying desperately to control people through micromanaging is bad news. “There’s a big problem with this: people don’t like being controlled. In fact, there is a perfectly inverse correlation between the amount of control you exert over others, and how much they want to do what you want them to do,” says leadership trainer Michael Timms, of https://availleadership.com/.

The Big-Brother-is-watching-you mentality is bad for business. Constantly monitoring efficiency is a significant detriment to productivity, reports a study by office products manufacturers FranklinCovey. That finding is supported by a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology that shows people who think they are being scrutinized do their job at a lower level.

Micromanagers inherently distrust people and their competence, and therefore they expend a tremendous amount of energy trying to “idiot proof” things, believes Timms. “Leaders, on the other hand, value and respect people’s unique talents. They point people in the right direction and unleash their talents. Leaders control the results by following basic delegation practices.”

It’s important to recognize the difference between leading and bossing: Leaders provide clear objectives and guidance, call it feedback. Bosses, on the other hand, tell people specifically what to do with little room for the delegate to use their brain. “The mindset difference between leading and bossing is that leaders value and leverage the creativity, experience, and talents of those they delegate to,” says Timms, author of Succession Planning That Works.

So do away with that command-and-control style of managing: “Do this, do that, then report back. And don’t you dare make any decisions without clearing it with me first!”

Coach your team to touchdown after touchdown by embracing good coaching. Think of it in terms of the goose that laid the golden egg: “Sports coaches know that if they take care of the goose, it will keep laying golden eggs. Coaches care about the people they lead enough to develop them,” says Timms. “Managers often strangle the goose to get at the golden egg quicker. They sacrifice the goose when they constantly tell people what to do, robbing them of development opportunities and the ability to take ownership of their work. This, in turn, kills employee engagement and effectiveness.”

Keep up you’re micromanaging, and you’re going to find yourself surrounded by people who wait until told, poor employee morale and engagement, and high turnover; all of which combines for a losing season and beyond.


So don’t forsake huddles, but you do have to hand things off and let people fly. According to football great Vince Lombardi, “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses or the problems of modern society.”


No matter the industry, no one gets ahead by being a control freak. If you’re like most micromanagers, you probably don’t even know you’re doing it. Here are red flags according to Michael Timms, leadership development expert.

    You regularly remind people to “run things by” you.

    You give finicky critical input that provides minimum value.

    You second-guess people’s decisions.

    You regularly “improve” upon people’s work or ideas.

    You ask for other’s opinion only on trivial matters.

    You meddle in the details of people’s work.


Stop nitpicking now!

    Be crystal clear about the desired results, and provide tangible metrics that people can measure their performance against.

    Be explicit about what decisions people are free to make, and what decisions require additional perspectives – and try to minimize the latter.

    Provide resources.

    Establish a regular reporting schedule.