Micromanagement – Top Questions for Supervisors to Consider
What’s the most common complaint you hear from employees, Jeanne?



Micromanagement! My supervisor micromanages every aspect of my work. I feel like quitting. “



Before I started writing The Supervisor’s Companion, I asked people in various work environments, including restaurant servers, bank tellers, supervisors, managers, blue collar and white color, what they would like me to write about. Nearly everyone mentioned micromanagement. It is a topic frequently addressed during coaching sessions, and I knew I needed to write about it.

Micromanaging supervisors convey a message of distrust to the employee. “I’m going to tell you how to do things, and I’m going to stay nice and close to you – by email or the stop-by – to make sure you’re doing everything just right.” Oh great. That’s helpful. Now the employee begins to wonder why you gave him a particular assignment or maybe even why you hired him. You start out feeling like your manager doesn’t think you can do it, that feeling is reinforced along the way, and if you do succeed, your manager attributes that success to his ‘helping’ you get it done right.

[message type=”warning”]There is no winning with a micromanaging supervisor.[/message]

I have coached many supervisors who tell me right away that they aren’t micromanagers. “I know micromanagement. I have seen it and I hated it when it happened to me. I won’t do that to someone else,” one client told me emphatically. Having suffered under a micromanager isn’t a vaccine. You are not immune to becoming a micromanager. Things are different when you get in the supervisor’s chair.

[divider]If you are a new supervisor, or maybe a manager who hasn’t had benefit of training in this area, here are some general thoughts for you to consider:


  • Do my employees know that I want them to succeed?
  • Do I understand the strengths, as well as the challenges, of each employee?
  • Do I trust that my employees are ready for the assigned work?
  • Do I trust that my employees are ready for the assigned work?
  • Have I taken time to seek input from my employees?
  • Am I listening to my employees? Really listening? Actively listening?
  • Do I know the difference between helping and training my employees?
  • Am I helping my employees improve and develop, or am I hovering with concern?
  • Am I helping my employees improve and develop, or am I hovering with concern?
  • Am I giving my employees the opportunity to make decisions appropriate to their skill level?
  • Do I really trust my employees?
  • Am I communicating a sense of appreciation for their accomplishments?

[divider]If you’re wondering whether you’re a micromanager, these guidelines might be helpful. If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to at least eight of these, you might be one of those micromanagers you complained about earlier in your career – or even now.

You can learn more about micromanagement and get practical tips on how to more effectively supervise in The Supervisor’s Companion.

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