Micromanagement: Definition, 5 Signs, Impacts, and The Solution

5 Sep, 2022 | Read in 5 minutes

Micromanagement is a term used to describe when a manager closely monitors and controls the work of their employees. Learn more about micromanagement here.


At present, the micromanagement leadership style is often found in various organisations or work environments. In definition, micromanagement is a leadership style characterised by excessive supervision and control from superiors.

Generally, people who micromanage are not aware of what they are doing. Therefore, to understand better, you need to know what are the signs of a micromanagement leadership style and how to deal with it.

What is micromanagement?

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Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines micromanagement as managing especially with excessive control or attention to detail. Dictionary.com describes micromanagement as management or control with excessive attention to minor detail.

In other words, micromanagement is an act or behaviour that refers to anyone in a leadership position that uses manipulation, observation, and communication tendencies to control others. Micromanagement actors generally think that they are helping their employees to be more productive, but quite the opposite.

Often, micromanagement actors cause employees paranoid, insecure and feel unappreciated. Prolonged coercion even forces many members of a well-performing team to leave a company. The micromanagement style is widely known as an action in which a manager observes and/or controls and/or reminds the work of the subordinates or employees carefully but excessively.

In managing a team or human resources, micromanagement usually spreads negativity and toxic actions. Some psychologists even believe that micromanagement is a powerful factor in destroying team culture.

5 signs of micromanagement

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Micromanagement is a leadership style that is characterised by excessive attention to minor details and a lack of trust in the employees. It can be detrimental to the morale of employees who are micromanaged because they feel as if their opinions and skills are not appreciated. Here are the 5 signs of micromanagement.

1. Giving excessive attention to minor details

This can be very distracting and take time away from other tasks that are more important. Even though there are other important jobs that require more attention, these micromanagement actors are never satisfied, so they always pay too much attention to these things.

2. Never satisfied with the results of the teamwork

Micromanagement is a system where the superiors will not give feedback. In this management style, superiors tend to give criticism that is not a solution. This form of criticism will bring down the mental and morale of the employees. So, their productivity will be hampered.

3. Not trusting their employees' judgement

These micromanagement actors always think that things have to go their way. So all team members have to follow their way of doing things. They will prevent others from making decisions without consulting first.

4. Constantly checking in with employees about how they're doing

In this leadership style, the manager's focus is on knowing where the workers are, as well as the details of the tasks they are doing. Knowing the whereabouts of workers as well as the details of the task is important to enforce strict controls. 

They also do not hesitate to give piles of new jobs when their employees have free time. They will monitor performance at every opportunity without providing a distance for workers to focus.

5. Requiring regular updates on work progress

A micromanager will not hesitate to constantly ask you about the progress of your work. Due to a lack of trust, a micromanager feels the need to constantly know the progress of the team's work. This can cause anxiety and insecurity in the team, which has an impact on decreased productivity.

Impacts of micromanagement

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At first glance, micromanagement looks negative but in fact, it has advantages and benefits. When applied at the right time, micromanaging is a strategy that can actually pay off. 

When the team is still a small team, sometimes, a supervisor needs to monitor and control the performance of the team carefully. So, let's discuss the positive and negative impacts of micromanagement.

The positive impact of micromanagement

As discussed above, micromanagement is actually an important and useful system for a new and small team. Even if problems will occur, detailed observations will provide regularity and establish discipline on the part of the employees.

Micromanagement is also effective for employees who are just onboarding. This system can help employees quickly get used to the new work environment. Not all new employees are always used to the fast flow of work in a well-known company. This is where the role of micromanagement is needed by the company. Additional instructions and strict guidance can help new recruits stay consistent on the job.

In other words, if it is not excessive, micromanaging can be a valid and useful approach. However, remember that micromanagement will not have a good effect if it is maintained on an already large and stable team.

The negative impact of micromanagement

In summary, micromanagement is a leadership style that can disturb employees' focus and psychological stability. In addition, this system has no success parameters. This makes the company unable to provide an assessment of this management system.

Micromanagement is also no longer considered relevant when the company is growing and stable. This is because mature and independent workers need their respective workspaces without excessive control.

In fact, micromanagement has a role in the high employee turnover rate. This stems from dissatisfaction and poor performance of workers caused by excessive control from superiors. It can be concluded that micromanaging hinders the work quality of employees.

The solution for micromanagement

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According to Process, Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is a management technique that provides all the essential elements of micromanagement without excessive control. OKR can be set quarterly in the office calendar. It aims to provide a space for workers to be able to work maturely and free from excess control.

This system is effective because of the approval of superiors and employees regarding the rights and obligations of each party. With this, a sense of freedom, as well as aspirational suggestions, are expected to flow easily. Worker conditions can be well-maintained, and even superiors can monitor without needing to intervene excessively.

In conclusion

Micromanagement is a term used to describe the act of a supervisor excessively monitoring and giving detailed instructions to their employees or subordinates. It is a common problem in the workplace. This can have both positive and negative impacts on employees and how they perform.

The Objectives and Key Results (OKR) management technique is a great way to solve the problem of excessive micromanagement. This technique is a way to break down the tasks that need to be completed into smaller, more manageable pieces. Using a project management tool to deliver tasks and set deadlines is a great way to start. You can monitor without excessive attention. Try it for FREE!

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