Micromanagers and Control Freaks.

By Chris Lott | Management | 9569 Views | 3 Comments    

We’ve all had them and maybe we were one ourselves. Maybe we still are? Managers that simply could not let go of any control. This goes for owners of businesses as well. You know the type… they’re pretty sure no one can do the job as well as them. They have the “If you want a job done right you have to do it yourself” philosophy. I wish I could tell you this applies to new managers only… unfortunately it doesn’t.


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Three Issues of Micromanagers and Control Freaks

Issue #1: If a manager has become too important to the end result that if anything happens to them the company suffers… big problem. There’s no backup… no redundancy. Possibly in time….. business failure.

Solution: While this may actually work for a while ultimately it fails. Managers like this need to let go and delegate. There needs to be cross training. Others need to be in the “knowledge loop” so to speak. They need to drop the desire to do it all.

Issue #2: In doing it all… No one else can really grow within the company. Can the employee really “take ownership” of their position? Can they take pride in their position? Can they grow? Can they be creative? Not really. Employees can not do their job with someone always looking over their shoulder. Trust, feelings, and ultimately loyalty become at risk.

Solution: To solve this issue… It really becomes an act of faith by the manager/owner. They need to let their employees do what the company hired them to do. Then as time goes on and successes happen insecurity disappears and trust begins. Employees grow, creativity thrives.

“We truly feel we have been micromanaged and minimized as professionals.” – Laura Hopkins

Issue #3: Production is really hindered by not letting others participate. No one can relate with all potential customers, problems, and solutions. Creativity and fresh ideas are at risk as well. Sales and customers will be lost.

Solution: Taking a team, consultative, approach with everyone having the opportunity to play their part is a great first step. Manage the team of course… just let others truly participate. Conductors without an orchestra are ultimately nothing. This should apply to your management model. One person simply can not do it all. Consulting and working with others shouldn’t be looked at as a sign of weakness.

11 Signs That You Might be one of those Control Freaks

    1.) Almost never think that you’re wrong.
    2.) Tardy people irritate you.
    3.) You’re stubborn.
    4.) You interrupt people and don’t even realize it.
    5.) Taking orders/directions from anyone is tough.
    6.) People disagreeing with you upsets you.
    7.) People’s messes really bother you.
    8.) You are easily irritated.
    9.) If people don’t take your advice you’re insulted.
    10.) It’s difficult for you to trust people.
    11.) Need to do everything yourself as much as possible.

There’s a Better Way
There is of course a variety of reasons why someone is a control freak or micromanager. Typically they’re afraid of jeopardizing their position/career/income with an employee “failure”. There’s a certain amount of insecurity involved. The manager/owner may have had some past experience that has reinforced this attitude. Most likely they have been managed this way for years. Maybe even by their parents.

“If you allow staff to own a project, you must trust in their capacity and avoid micromanagement, … Be there to provide support when needed, but don’t force yourself into the picture.” – Barbara Moses

If there’s no trust with employees, their judgment, their creativity, and unwillingness to allow them to assume any responsibility… not only are managers cheating the company but could in reality bring about its failure. Growth, dedication, creativity, loyalty are all requisites of a healthy company. If that’s gone… well that’s a serious issue.

My Final Suggestion
Look in the mirror. Make your internal changes if needed. Then if you have others in your organization to work with do it. Get them to look at alternatives on how they handled projects and difficult situations. Open their eyes to a better management skill set. Get them to stop controlling every situation and micromanaging. The bottom line and company health will thank you.

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3 thoughts on “Micromanagers and Control Freaks.

  1. Craig, I’m with you. I was actually happily surprised I only scored 6.5 out of 11. I’m working really hard on the interrupting people. I had a manager that was a micromanager’s micromanager. I worked for him for 8 years. I was one of his most outspoken employees and made his life rough. I even turned him into HR because he was treating me like I was 2 and couldn’t manage my own work flow. He and I have become good friends over the years and he is doing a lot better now as a manager. He still needs reminding every now and then, but he is more trusting and open with those who work for him. Micromanagement is one of the things that I have struggled with most of my life. Working for someone who was worse than I was was very eye opening and educational for me.

    Excellent artical Chris, thank you.

  2. As leaders we all need guidance to manage our teams effectively. I found a great resource. Debora McLaughlin is an executive coach that was featured in the Blueprint for Success book with Stephen R. Covey. She is writing a new book and is asking leaders to answer one question. In return she is giving away the Journal for Influential Leadership as a gift.

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