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Are You a Micromanager?

See if you recognize yourself in these 20 behavioral clues

Managers are rarely, if ever, heard describing themselves as micromanagers. Yet, working for a micromanaging boss is one of the most frequently cited reasons employees hate their jobs or their bosses. Clearly, there's a disconnect here. Are you acting like a micromanager without even knowing it? The 20 clues below will help you judge for yourself. Each describes a common trait of a micromanager. Tally one point for each "yes" answer and check your score at the end.

20 Clues You're a Micromanager

  1. Do you have a long list of pending approvals and decisions that await your action? Micromanaged employees have learned the hard way that they need your approval for every little decision. Behind your back, you may be referred to as “the bottleneck.”

  2. You are always running out of red pens. As far as you’re concerned, there is always room for improvement in any document, even if your margin notes are subjective or nit-picking.

  3. You insist on tagging along with your employees to any meetings that they have with your boss, company executives, key clients or vendors, or anyone else worthy of your attention.

  4. You insist that your employees copy or blind copy you on all emails you deem important. Your email inbox regularly exceeds its storage limit.

  5. You regularly work long days and weekends and rarely take a vacation because you think no one can do your job as well as you.

  6. You often re-do work that you have delegated to an employee.

  7. You really do have a sign on your desk that says “The Buck Stops Here.”

  8. You often call meetings before meetings to make sure your employees are prepared for meetings.

  9. You insist on having all work processes documented.

  10. You think you are smarter than any of your employees and get frustrated with them because they "just don’t get it." You resent having to babysit them but you have no choice.

  11. You rarely have time for developing strategy, because you’re working so hard on day-to-day details. Your boss pointed out your lack of strategic thinking in your last performance review.

  12. When you delegate, you spend more time describing how to do the task than discussing what needs to be accomplished.

  13. You have each of your employee's cell phone numbers and text them often outside work hours.

  14. You require weekly and monthly activity reports from your employees.

  15. You hold frequent post-mortem meetings to second-guess every decision and action taken.

  16. Your employees never take any initiative or come up with new ideas. You need to do their thinking for them.

  17. You measure and monitor everything. Your motto could be, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

  18. You never allow your employees to attend meetings for you.

  19. You need to know what your employees are doing at all times. You have access to their calendars so that you can keep track of them.

  20. You have high turnover and low employee engagement scores. When you do find a rare high performer, they quickly find another opportunity.


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