Micromanagement: How to handle it and avoid its risks in companies

Micromanagement poses several risks for companies, such as demotivation and team disaffection, a loss of initiative, and distrust.  It directly...
19 October 2023

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Micromanagement: How to handle it and avoid its risks in companies

Micromanagement poses several risks for companies, such as demotivation and team disaffection, a loss of initiative, and distrust. 

It directly affects workplace atmosphere, reduces productivity, and causes employees to lose interest in their own performance, leading to talent attrition.

On the other hand, this type of supervision can significantly complicate communication between the leader and their team. Micromanagement also hampers the effective human capital management, making it necessary to understand how to handle it and prevent its risks.

What is Micromanagement?

Micromanagement, or micromanaging, is overseeing people’s work through invasive and controlling supervision that stifles employees’ natural initiative. 

This management style, which pays excessive attention to details in employees’ activities, can inhibit creativity and decision-making abilities, consequently affecting their productivity. 

The person practicing micromanagement cannot delegate and prioritize tasks effectively, constantly impacting their colleagues’ work. 

This toxic leadership generates stress for employees, hinders their advancement within the organization, and harms the workplace atmosphere, creating a ripple effect.

How to manage Micromanagement? 2 key factors

Managing micromanagement involves two key factors

  1. The characteristics of the team
  2. And the figure of the micromanager.
Micromanagement: How to manage it and avoid its risks in companies

The characteristics of the team

An inexperienced and underqualified team can give rise to micromanagement because the manager fears not achieving objectives if they grant autonomy to team members. 

In this regard, workgroups must be well-balanced and consist of individuals with the necessary skills and competencies to fulfill their responsibilities effectively. 

Otherwise, you can implement a mentoring program or provide training to equip your teams with the required tools while fostering a culture of continuous learning in your company.

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The figure of the Micromanager

Micromanagers need to control every action of their teams, leaving little room for personal initiative

This behavior can stem from their personality, often prevalent in impatient and perfectionist individuals who struggle to delegate, believing that they must do it themselves to ensure something is done correctly. 

Alternatively, it may result from a lack of preparation and experience on the part of the manager, who is incapable of adopting interpersonal leadership

This approach to managing human capital is a more humanistic way of proceeding, as it is based on cooperation rather than control

In any case, managing micromanagement requires working with the micromanager to change their approach.

How to deal with a micromanager?

How to deal with a micromanager?

Dealing with a micromanager can be challenging, but there are strategies you can employ to navigate this situation effectively:

  1. Understand their perspective: Start by understanding why your manager might be micromanaging. They might have concerns about the project or task and might not be aware of how their behavior is affecting you. Put yourself in their shoes to see if you can identify any valid reasons for their actions.
  1. Open communication: Initiate a conversation with your micromanager. Express your willingness to collaborate and your desire to meet their expectations. Ask for clarification on their expectations and what success looks like to them. This can help establish a common understanding.
  1. Set clear expectations: Make sure both you and your manager are on the same page regarding project goals, timelines, and deliverables. Having clear expectations can reduce the need for constant oversight.
  1. Provide regular updates: Keep your manager informed about your progress. Send regular updates, share milestones reached, and communicate any potential issues or challenges. Proactive communication can alleviate their concerns and reduce the need for micromanagement.
  1. Ask for autonomy: If you believe you can handle certain aspects of your work independently, respectfully ask for more independence. Highlight your skills and past successes to demonstrate your capability to work without constant supervision.
  1. Seek feedback: Proactively ask for feedback on your work. You may help your manager feel more comfortable and less inclined to micromanage by showing your commitment to improvement.
  1. Be patient: Changing a micromanager’s behavior can take time. Be patient and persistent in building trust and demonstrating your competence.
  1. Document everything: Keep thorough records of your work, including emails, progress reports, and any feedback received. This documentation can serve as evidence of your competence and can be useful if you need to address the micromanagement issue with higher-ups.
  1. Involve HR or a higher authority: If the micromanagement continues and becomes unbearable, consider involving your HR department or a higher-level manager. Provide evidence of the micromanagement and explain how it’s affecting your work and well-being.
  1. Consider your options: In extreme cases where the micromanagement persists and negatively impacts your job satisfaction and performance, you may need to explore other job opportunities within the company or externally.

Remember that not all micromanagers are the same, and the effectiveness of these strategies may vary depending on the individual. It’s essential to assess your specific situation and tailor your approach accordingly.

How to avoid the risks of micromanagement in your company?

Among the significant risks of micromanagement is talent attrition in your company, which ultimately affects its continuity. 

Keep in mind that competitiveness is non-existent in an organization without talent, and quality services or products are not offered

Therefore, knowing how to avoid this harmful supervision is crucial.

Detect micromanagement early

Several signs allow you to detect the presence of micromanagement in your company, and recognizing them provides an opportunity to address the issue. 

Here are 5 common indicators of micromanagement:

  1. Your team lacks initiative: If your team rarely asks questions or volunteers for new tasks, your supervision may be overly invasive.
  2. Simple projects take a long time to complete: Micromanagement hampers decision-making, which affects productivity.
  3. You don’t need to provide substantial feedback on a project: If you have very little to say at the end of a project, you may have been micromanaging its development.
  4. There is a lack of feedback: Feedback at work enhances employee engagement, improves results, and drives employee development.
  5. Task assignments need to be clarified: In micromanagement, roles and responsibilities are not well-defined, leading to inefficiency and confusion among employees.

Promote a team learning culture

Sharing the lessons learned from mistakes with your teams is essential. This dynamic allows you to approach obstacles constructively, focusing on solutions rather than pointing out problems. 

In this way, employees and leaders learn from each other, fostering the exchange of ideas and reinforcing their sense of belonging to a group that shares goals and provides mutual feedback.

Micromanagement, or micromanaging, is overseeing people's work through invasive and controlling supervision

Set objectives and tasks efficiently

Defining SMART objectives is a valuable tool to prevent micromanagement within a company. These objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

This approach ensures that your employees always know what is expected of them and simplifies task allocation based on the company’s strategy.

Respect your employees’ focus and prioritize

Micromanagers tend to disrupt their teams’ workflow with constantly changing priorities or urgent tasks. 

This situation creates tension for employees, as they see their objectives constantly shifting, leading to unproductive uncertainty.

Implement an executive coaching program

Executive coaching is a support system for company executives that helps establish effective leadership capable of evaluating and nurturing talent.

Leverage digitalization

Utilizing new technologies for performance evaluation simplifies management and strengthens trust between managers and employees

Such evaluations facilitate an objective analysis of employees’ strengths and weaknesses, promoting their development within the company.

In these trust-building processes that enhance the workplace atmosphere, our proctoring plans are invaluable, as they enable you to create secure environments for assessments, monitoring, training, and remote interactions, all while allowing non-invasive supervision of your teams. 
Request a free demo to learn about the tools and solutions we can provide to enhance talent evaluation in your company.

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