5 Reasons Leaders Tend to Micromanage

In a separate post, I wrote the reasons to micromanage. (Yes…there are times…Read that post HERE) Most of the time micromanaging is not a positive characteristic of leadership. Here are some reasons leaders resort to micromanaging:

Fear – When the leader feels that another person may receive credit or recognition greater than the leader; he or she is more likely to try to navigate every outcome.

Insecurity – When the leader is afraid he or she doesn’t have what it takes to lead the team or organization, in order to protect his or her back, the leader begins to control the actions of those on the team.

Wrong team members
– When the leader doesn’t feel he or she can trust the team members, he or she is likely to lead activities normally delegated.

Bad vision – The problem may not be the people…or even the leader…but the leader is pushing people to accomplish something that no one buys into or won’t work. Sometimes it’s time to move forward, but the leaders hanging onto a sinking ship.

Control Freak – Some leaders relish in the idea of holding power and so, to keep that sense of control, they use their position’s authority to retain control rather than delegating.

Leaders, are you guilty of micromanaging? Do any of these reasons apply to you?

(If you need help, read my post on 4 easy steps to delegation HERE.)  The important thing for a leader to do, if he or she wants to see the organization flourish, is learn to let go of control and let others lead.  (Read more about that concept HERE.)  If the problem is the organization or people, then work to fix it so you don’t have to micromanage.  If the problem is the leader…well…start developing yourself.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

What experiences do have with a micromanaging leader?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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18 thoughts on “5 Reasons Leaders Tend to Micromanage

  1. I reported to a very good leader once, who went through a phase of micromanaging a project I was leading. I asked him what his concerns were and it turned out that he was being hammered on from above.

    This got me to thinking how important it is that I, as a subordinate, be sensitive to what's happening above my supervisor, because The Downhill Flow rule will never be rescinded.

    I tend to too bold in showing initiative and sometimes, in the words of Bill Oncken, I need to be rethreaded–if for no other reason than helping my supervisor be confident I know who's boss!

  2. So what’s a person (follower) to do if their leader is a control freak and won’t let a qualified person do their job?

  3. I tend to micro-manage at the beginning of an important new task. Other than that, If I have to do someone's job for them, I have the wrong person assigned. If my leader was micro-managing me, I'd first look at myself. Is my performance or lack of causing the problem?

  4. My philosphy is "I can do all things in Christ, but not everything all at once." I don't try to micromanage any more–I'm just not organized enough to do that. I'm sure my in-laws appreciate this lack of controlling–they have no reason for mother-in-law jokes at all.

  5. I definitely have controlling tendencies and I have to work really hard to not let those tendencies get the best of me. My favorite line "learn to let go of control and let others lead." I was facing a situation where I felt like I had to be present for things to go right. Reading your post helped me see that my control freak was trying to rear her ugly. I just need to let go and let others on the team lead and trust it will all work out. Thanks for the reminder.

    • I love the honest in your reply. I, too, could easily revert to control, but when we make others aware of our wiring, give them the right to call us on it, and hold ourselves and allow others to keep us accountable, it helps us work towards releasing control.