4 Signs You May Be Micromanaging

In my work with hundreds of managers, I’ve come to realize that most micromanagers don’t actually know that others see them that way until they’re being told so.

It happens unconsciously.

They may feel like they’re being helpful, proactive, and engaged…

Only to discover that what they perceived as helpful was actually being perceived as “micromanage-y” by others.

And this is the perfect example of a blindspot that can derail someone’s career.

Because the fact is, micromanaging creates higher turnover rates, reduces productivity, blocks employee growth, hinders creativity, and…

most importantly, it is highly frustrating for the people being micromanaged and it’s a well-known promotion blocker for the manager.

The way I help my clients see whether or not they’re style is perceived as micromanaging is by doing a 360-degree feedback assessment. It’s the fastest and easiest way to uncover any blindspots that you might have.

However, there are some good indicators for you to look at and perform a quick self-assessment and I want to share them with you here.

By the way, if you ever wondered if your boss is a micromanager or if it’s just you, then the following 4 signs might also help you figure out what’s going on.

Let’s have a look if you’re inadvertently being hurtful by micromanaging on the job.

#1: You’re a Bottleneck

If you find that people are oftentimes waiting on you to sign off or approve specific projects before they can make progress, or if they complain about inefficient processes, then this may be a sign that you are micromanaging.

Being a bottleneck holds employees back and prevents them from getting things done as fast as they could if they did not have to consistently wait for you to approve their work at various stages.

Instead, loosen the reigns and allow your employees more autonomy.

This will keep you from being a bottleneck or creating inefficient processes while giving your employees more confidence and trust in their capabilities to do their jobs without constant approval.

#2: You Think You Can Do Something Better and Faster Than Your Employees

If you genuinely think that you can do most of your employee’s tasks way faster and better, then there’s a good chance that you occasionally or frequently fall into the trap of micromanaging.

The cure for this is to spend more time with your team members coaching them, rather than looking over their shoulders and telling them what to do and how to do it.

Instead of giving directions, learn the skills of coaching. You can do this by working with a coach yourself or checking out LinkedIn Learning courses etc.

With this skill, you’ll be able to take a step back and see how they’re growing with the opportunity of doing things on their own and taking ownership of their given tasks. This is the ultimate benefit your direct reports are graving for.

Plus, it will free up hours of your week so you can finally tackle the bigger, more strategic work that you never had time for before.

#3: You or Others Consider You to Be a Perfectionist

If you consider yourself to be a perfectionist or have been told by others that you’re a perfectionist, this could be a sign that you tend to micromanage.

It’s good to have high standards for yourself and others, but other people also have their own sets of standards, and this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re higher or lower than yours, they’re just different.

Think for a moment… do you want things to be done your way and feel that this is necessary to achieve a certain outcome or level of perfection?

If so, this could result in you being too involved in the nitty-gritty things that happen on the job and people may feel like they can only deliver things to you one way—your way and your way only… and that there is no room for their own ideas or approaches.

To get better at this, commit to the 70%-Rule. This rule says that if your employee can be at least 70% as good at the task as you would be, then delegate. Trust me, it’s worth compromising on the quality of the outcome (at least in your eyes) to, in turn, have happier team members who will stay with you, learn and grow!

#4: You Don’t Actually Trust Others on the Job

When you assign someone a task at work and you worry that it may not turn out so good, and you notice that delegating and letting go of the reigns is difficult for you, then you may be perceived as a micromanager.

Having a hard time trusting others is something that many of us deal with.

The answer to this is to take small, incremental steps. Consistently push yourself forward to trusting others and letting go a bit more, day by day.

Start with small tasks and decisions. Let your team members run with them without you getting involved at all. Then slowly expand the scope and frequency of tasks and decisions that you hand over.

If there are risks involved then you should certainly check-in with your team members and guide or coach them along the way. But that’s not to be confused with giving marching orders every step of the way.

This is a process and it won’t happen over time. But gradually stepping back and letting people run with it while coaching (not directing!), will show you what’s truly possible for you and your team.

In Summary…

If you feel like you…

  • have a difficult time trusting others,
  • can do things at work better and faster than your employees,
  • are a perfectionist, or
  • a bottleneck

…then there is a very good chance that you may be perceived as a micromanager.

And if you’re unsure as to whether or not you’ve been micromanaging, ask your team members for feedback.

In your next 1-on-1, you could simply say something along the lines of…

 “I’m trying to let go a bit more and be less involved in some of your work because I trust you. What suggestion would you have for me that would make you feel more trusted with your work?”

If you want help with it, I’d love to connect with you! Reach out to so we can set up a time to speak more in-depth.

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