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Are You a Micromanager? Ask Yourself These Questions

Recognizing your management style is the first step toward better leadership.

Controlling. Suffocating. Critical. Distrustful. As hard as they are to hear, if you are a micromanager, these are the types of words your team may use to describe your leadership style.

No one likes to be micromanaged. But as a leader, you may be using this management style without realizing it. If you’re a micromanager, you could be sending your team the unintentional message that you don’t value their talents or trust them to do their jobs—which can have detrimental consequences on employee and organization performance.


A Prevalent Management Style in Today’s Businesses and Organizations

In the book My Way or the Highway: The Micromanagement Survival Guide, author Harry E. Chambers discusses micromanagement in today’s workplace. He points to a survey in which 79% of respondents reported experiencing micromanagement, approximately 69% said they considered changing jobs because of micromanagement, and another 36% actually changed jobs.1

The survey also revealed that 71% of respondents said being micromanaged interfered with their job performance, while 85% said their morale was negatively impacted.

It is no surprise that micromanagement is a common management style found in many businesses and other organizations. Unfortunately, this poor style of leadership—or lack thereof—can lead to employee dissatisfaction, high turnover, and many other negative impacts on your team and organization.

Am I a Micromanager? A Closer Look at Your Leadership Qualities

If you’re like many business leaders, you might believe good management requires keeping tabs on your team to some degree. In fact, you may have learned in business school and throughout your career that the best managers are also great supervisors.

Knowing the difference between good oversight and micromanagement is key. However, the line between effective leadership and micromanagement can sometimes be difficult to define. So how do you know if you’ve crossed it?

“The micromanager is down in the weeds, swamped in minutiae,” said management expert Teresa A. Daniel in an article on the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) website.2 “Contrary to the best social science research—which shows that people who believe that they are being watched perform at a lower level—micromanagers require incessant updates and daily huddles, and they closely scrutinize, and often criticize, how their employees complete tasks.”

Do you have the traits of a micromanager? Find out if your leadership style leans toward micromanagement by asking yourself these questions:2,3

  • Do I constantly keep track of my workers’ whereabouts?
  • Do I need to be copied on all team emails?
  • Do my workers feel like they can make decisions without my input?
  • Can I delegate easily, or do I break projects into small tasks instead of trusting employees with more significant assignments?
  • Do I ask for frequent updates on project statuses and deadlines, even on small tasks?
  • Do I ask for input from others?
  • Am I rarely satisfied with the work my employees deliver?
  • Do I obsess over details and take great pride in correcting or changing people’s work?
  • Is my team more focused on pleasing me than our customers?
  • Do I tend to have mood swings?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you might be a micromanager. But don’t worry—it’s never too late to improve your leadership and management skills.

Improve Your Leadership Skills With an Online Management Degree

Whether you think you are a micromanager or not, all leaders can benefit from continued professional development and training. A great way to grow your leadership and management skills while you keep working in your current job is to enroll in an online master’s degree program.

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a popular choice if you want an advanced college degree in management and leadership. You can earn this graduate degree fully online through Walden’s MBA program.

By earning a master's degree business administration, you can become a better leader and be more successful in your career.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Business AdministrationExpand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,