Its-not-micro-managementYou’re collaborating on a project with a group of people, and you feel like something’s amiss. If you’re being asked to achieve something, but lack the power or voice to get it done, you might be experiencing micromanagement. Fundamentally, micromanagement is an issue of control, delegation and the systems to support them being out of balance.
The person in charge may be over-controlling, unable to define the work clearly, lack the skills to delegate tasks properly, or a combination of these. The person being micromanaged may not have enough information, power, autonomy or support to complete the task, nor be clear on what they’re actually doing.
A few of the warning signs:
  • Missing Aims & Goals: Without a clear aim or goal for the task or project, nothing is defined clearly enough for it to be completed successfully in the first place.
  • Hyperfocus: Rather than focusing on results, you find yourself stuck in a quagmire of details, asked to explain each one.
  • “My Way or the Highway” Mentality: Being asked and monitored, often step-by-step, to do something in one particular way that could successfully and properly be done in different ways.
  • Lack of Clear Roles: When roles on a team aren’t clearly defined, who is supposed to be doing what becomes confusing, miscommunication can ensue and expectations might not be met. This is a surefire way for whoever is in charge to feel insecure about whether a task or project will be completed properly.
  • Lack of Trust: When we don’t trust someone or feel trusted to do something, it can be difficult to move a project forward and let go of control.
What you can do:
  • Set Clear Aims & Goals: Each of us is different and, when allowed, will naturally follow our own, diverse path for reaching a shared goal. Remember, it’s where you’re going that’s important, not necessarily how you get there.
  • Focus on the Big Picture: Remember that everyone has their own unique style, and practice encouraging others to work toward the shared goal.
  • Encourage Creativity and Multiple Perspectives: When diversity is celebrated and appreciated, it becomes easier for everyone to acknowledge that we each can approach a problem from different angles and still accomplish a shared goal.
  • Clarify Roles & Expectations: Be sure that everyone knows what their role is, the extent of power they have within that role to make the shared goal happen, and what’s expected of them along the way.
  • Establish Trust: Trust is one of the core foundations of any functional team or collaboration. Without it, you have nothing. Do team building, create space for regular feedback & communication, and seek any and all support you can to build trust on your team.

How have you successfully dealt with micromanagement in the past?  Learn more tips on how to deal with micromanagement in Deborah Jacobs’ “How to Manage a Micromanager” on Forbes.


For more support teambuilding & working through organizational & collaborative challenges, contact Brittney at