Micromanagement in the workplace might not be as conspicuous as we believe. But if you’re in doubt, we’ve put together 6 signs that will help diagnose whether you are being micromanaged.

In recent years, the term micromanagement has been thrown around a lot, particularly amongst business leaders and consulting firms. Simply put, micromanaging refers to a management style that is defined by excessive supervising. It is when oversight begins to interfere with performance, quality, and efficiency, hindering achievements. Some leaders hold the belief that micromanagement is synonymous to effective leadership, but there’s a stark – and important – difference. While an effective manager is detail-oriented, engages with employees, and gives constructive criticism, a micromanager is someone who belabours over minutiae, examining everything you do under a microscope.

If you suspect you’re working under one such micromanager, you’re not alone. According to an Accountemps survey, 59 per cent of professionals reported to have been micromanaged at some point in their careers; 55 per cent said it hurt their productivity, and 68 per cent saw a decrease in their morale. 

Here, we’ve gathered 6 signs to help you diagnose whether you are being micromanaged at work. Scroll down to read more.


6 Signs You’re Being Micromanaged at Work

1. You’re Overwhelmed with Reports & Updates

When you’re working for a micromanager, the lion share of your time is often spent on reporting. This can come in several different forms, such as writing hourly/daily/weekly progress updates on various tasks or filling out excel templates that show the number of invoices you’ve done. Such reporting can be laborious and time-consuming, and take you away from doing your actual work.

2. Your Managers Fail to See The Forest For The Trees

A good manager understands that time is a finite resource and should be spent in a judicious manner. A micromanager, on the other hand, gets bogged down by details and loses sight of the bigger picture, the bottom line. To illustrate, a micromanager might decide that an inconsequential metric has to be included in an otherwise perfectly fine report and asks you to spend the next four hours updating every tab. Decisions like these compromise our abilities to meet deadlines and could have adverse effects on our mental health.

3. You Find Yourself in Meetings All Day, Every Day 

We’re individuals with our own sets of preferences. A good manager recognises that, agrees to disagree, then makes a call. However, micromanagers are usually hellbent on aligning everyone’s opinion to theirs, making sure everyone sees things exactly how they see it. To this end, long meetings are held on a far too regular basis in which subjects are chewed over to the point of exhaustion, with no one allowed to leave until a consensus is reached.

4. Zero Feedback

A myth regarding micromanagers is that they regularly observe, assess, and critique. Reality is, feedback is far and few between – 47 per cent of employees reported the frequency of feedback from their manager as “a few times a year”, as conveyed in a Gallup analysis.

Managers have the responsibility to help you grow. However, if there is little to no feedback – both for and from you – then it’s likely that you’re working for a micromanager who has shunned that responsibility entirely on you. 

When you ask a micromanager for support, the typical response would be “I don’t have time to hand-hold you through this” or “It’s important to figure things out yourself.” Though it may sound sensible, and you might construe it as tough love  – it is not. Because the subtext here is that their time is more valuable than yours.

5. You Notice Projects Are Often Dragged On and Delayed

Have you noticed that the revision process can take ages, even for something as small as creating a flyer? That can be a function of micromanagement, where you have to seek approval for every little decision you make. The adverse effect of micromanagement is that the pace of your project is entirely dependent on one person’s schedule – and one person can only do so much. The next thing you know, all the decks and reports are stacked up on her desk and the one thing you can do is buckle under and wait.

6. You Feel Like There Is No Room For Creativity

A micromanager usually has a very specific framework and rubric for nearly everything, which is to say that there is one – and only one – way to approach any given project. As a result, when they hand down assignments, they often come with a long list of dos and don’ts, with prescribed structures that you’re supposed to follow. These constricting parameters would, in turn, make you feel like a robot, a cog in a machine with no freedom to exercise creativity. 

Wrapping Up

Now that we’ve covered all the signs, perhaps you’ve come to a definitive conclusion that you are being micromanaged – and that’s great because it is integral to identify the problem first in order to make changes. But, before you go ahead and type up your resignation letter, note that there are solutions you could try first, such as talking it out with your boss, laying out each other’s expectations, as well as volunteering for projects you’re confident in. That might work if you could entertain the possibility of how, maybe, your supervisors’ management style is not so much stemmed from malice as motivated by the pressure to do things right. Through efforts in open communication and hard work, it is possible to build trust gradually and turn the relationship around into a healthy one.


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