Micromanagement – The secret of how to get rid of it

When a manager does not trust the capacities of his team, they begin to take over the responsibilities that should be delegated. Or they need to check each step that each team member takes. Hence, slowly, they become overwhelmed with tasks to the extent that they do not physically achieve to do the key things in their work or become a bottleneck for decision-making. The job is suffering; the projects are delayed, the stress increases. At this point, there are two paths micromanagers take:

  • They either get back to their team members and re-delegate. These are usually tasks that do not have important implications for the job.
  • The second approach is to understand that the team they are working with are simply not capable, have no competences to work and make the definitive decision to replace them with more capable people as soon as possible. After that, they continue to do things the same old way.

If employees recognise that their manager has a controlling leadership style and find a way to cope with it, some results in the team may also come in the short term. In the long run, continuous interference in the work process leads to a decline in the productivity of the team primarily because this leadership style affects the motivation of work directly.

The micromanagerial approach mostly characterises people who are perfectionists and want to do the job in the best possible way. These are usually highly responsible people who have done a lot of work in their career to achieve results. Most often, they are excellent specialists in their area of expertise that really achieve good results. Also, they are people who have a dose of fear that poor results will lead to extremely bad consequences and perceive this outcome as catastrophic. It is as if a wrong decision, or an error in analysis, will cause their superiors to evaluate them as incompetent, which is not an option for them at all. And so, as soon as a task seems demanding, a micromanager decides that it will be better to do it themselves than waste time on corrections, experience stress while watching their colleagues approaching the task in a wrong way, and, God forbid, their superiors will think they are irresponsible by not being informed during each step and every detail of the task.

Unfortunately, when someone has predispositions for this work approach, it is very difficult to come out of the distrust they have towards others. Even when they bring someone they consider competent into the team, there is a possibility that they will feel threatened and then the situation can get even worse. Then they will decide not to delegate out of fear that they might be perceived as incompetent, which is the worst punishment for such people.

If this behaviour occurs during the first leadership role in one’s career, there is a strong chance that it will be overcome. People with developed emotional intelligence see that their leadership style affects employees, and they work on a personal change to be better leaders. The key thing is to realise that a management role implies only mutual results, not a single promotion at the expense of others, nor the takeover of other people’s merit. A good manager puts their employees first and gives them development opportunities through delegating more demanding tasks. Mistakes are a precondition for further development. Without them, no one would learn how to do something better or how to behave in different circumstances. Until we see the result of our decision, we cannot be sure that it was the right one – no one was born smart but gained their knowledge through attempts and the feedback of others.

If you have recognised some of the micromanagerial characteristics in yourself, or with your superior, do not despair. The fact that such behaviour exists in the organisation is a much more serious problem for the company because that means that there is a high probability that blame culture reins there and it is important who is the culprit, and not how the problem will be resolved. Of course, if you feel that the atmosphere is too toxic and that you do not actually have opportunities for personal development, you might better look for another job. Because it takes time for a change to take place, and above all, there has to be a willingness for it. And if the company management lacks emotional intelligence, then pointing fingers and taking credits for other people’s merit is likely to retain for a while, that is, until the leadership position has been taken by someone who worked on their own personal development, learned through their own and other people’s mistakes, and accepted the fact that there is no progress without the courage to try and make mistakes.

Leadership for Beginners

When their managerial career begins, young people encounter different types of challenges. It is not easy to be responsible for the performance and success of a team, even if it consists of only one person that we lead. Whether we want it or not, our team members have great expectations from us.

There are different types of training programs that support first-time-leaders, and there is no universal approach to the development of someone who takes this kind of responsibility for the first time. Nevertheless, we will try to look at the main aspects of this challenging task that, when successful, can be very rewarding.

Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance.

– J. Donald Walters

Office Politics and Interpersonal Relations

People always follow those who know the way to success. To motivate others and encourage them to achieve their potentials, you must be aware of yourself and your role in the team in the first place. In recent years, a lot has been discussed about corporate politics, in the sense that each manager pushes their team in a particular direction only because it contributes to his/her salary, bonuses, status or power. Faced with these “game rules” in larger companies, managers generally become so-called chameleons that adapt to the environment, or stay consistent and try to sometimes go “head through the wall.” If you are a leader at the beginning of a career, the best advice would be to be somewhere between these two styles. In the first place, the leader must be adaptive to different circumstances, and on the other hand, they must be consistent with the decisions and objectives that they should achieve. So, have the right choice of your battles, and choose your companions carefully.


This word has become a standard when we talk about descriptions of successful leaders, but unfortunately, it seems to have lost its value in practice over time. They say that you should have “Walk the Talk” (Practice what you preach) approach in relations with employees, in the sense that what we are talking and propagate, we should really be doing ourselves. Because why would someone give their maximum in business by following a leader who comes out earlier every day from work? If your team is working hard and has challenging tasks, you will gain the trust of team members only if you support them in their efforts to achieve results. Part of the integrity is also whether you keep the word you gave to someone. Employees’ trust is difficult to acquire, and it is very easy to lose, so make sure that you do not provide easy promises that you are not sure you can fulfil, and that when you say something will happen, you stick to your words. For a leader to really manage to stick to this principle, they must carefully think before they communicate some information with team members.

In this context, if your superior has been delighted to announce you bonuses for good results, do not immediately run into your team and convey the news before you have checked with all relevant structures in the company that this will actually happen. Giving false hopes to people is the fastest way to create discontent and apathy on the team. Now, the fact that you have been given a false hope as well and that you may be personally disappointed when there is an unfulfillment of some announced good news is something else, and it can be said that every leader’s job description is to deal with these challenges.

Working with a team, not without it

If you have already been concerned while reading previous paragraphs whether the role of a leader is right for you, you may want to stay in your expert zone in which you already achieve good results because the story is just beginning to be exciting! Each team has its own goals to achieve, and you as a leader should help team members understand what is expected from them in the first place and how to get there. To do this, you must understand where your team is with knowledge, competences, and motivation. 1 on 1 meetings with team members will help you achieve a closer relationship with each of them, and in a safe environment, they will share with you all their ambitions, desires, but also concerns and fears. When you understand the development phase of each one of them, you can better make further steps whether it is an investment in improving their technical knowledge or soft skills, empowering and supporting, or simply supporting someone while they are in a transition period to a new position.

Of course, do not forget that we are all humans and that personal problems we carry from our family can affect our performance. For all this, arm yourself with patience, understanding, constructive attitude to find the right words for praise, and listen to your employees. Listen carefully what they tell you because a large percentage of problems affecting your team’s bad performance will be resolved only by paying attention to those problems. If you close yourself and believe that only you can achieve results without any help, believe that you are wrong. This attitude leads to an authoritarian leadership style, which increasingly becomes an obsolete way of managing.

Taking responsibility

The biggest challenge in front of inexperienced leaders is taking responsibility for the entire team’s performance. “How do I stand by errors made by an unmotivated team member?” or “Why should I delegate tasks that I can do more precisely and more quickly?” are only some of the questions that usually lead to a decision that a leader is working late at night completing a report for superiors. If you are in this situation, ask yourself first why there are team managers at all. If you can do it all better yourself, why do you need a team whose mistakes you are constantly correcting, and reminding them of deadlines?

To return to the end of the story, one day you will have the privilege of working with the most motivated people who are professionals in their business – they always respect deadlines, do not make mistakes in work, proactively propose solutions to problems, give initiatives to improve processes. To get there, it will take a lot of time and efforts. In the first place, you have to build yourself up as a person of integrity, create a personal stamp of your leadership style, so everyone in the company says, “Yes, he/she is a great manager! If everyone were like that, this world would be a better place!” Therefore, do not be afraid to take responsibility for the mistakes of your team – your role is to stand before those people, and do your best to empower them, support, motivate, and push forward as they develop. Development is the most painful process, because as long as a person develops, they spread their horizons, change habits, adjust behaviour, and that is not a very easy process. Not for you, not for your team members.

There are many other topics that can be covered in this area, but for the start, if you become aware of these few topics and direct yourself to further growth, you have the prerequisite to have people praising you one day, even when you leave the company. Of course, if you really aim to make this world a better place.