Chances are you have been micromanaged in your career. If so, I am certain you didn’t love it. I have never heard someone describe a great leader including micromanagement as one of their greatest traits. It isn’t just a bad habit for an individual leader, but it can create several big problems in your organization, including some you might not associate with micromanagement.

Ask yourself these questions…

What is the trust level between leaders and their team members? While there are plenty of reasons leaders micromanage, their lack of trust in the ability of team members to do a task (or do higher value/higher consequence tasks) is a common one. Even if a lack of trust isn’t the major reason for micromanagement, it is often seen by team members as the reason. When we ask, “Why won’t they let me do my job?” we often answer with – “They don’t trust me.”

How would you rate the confidence level of your team members? When people are regularly questioned about their work, told exactly what to do, or feel like they are being watched regularly, they will likely be less confident. Additionally, when people don’t have a chance to do anything new or of higher value, how can their confidence build?

Are your team members developing and growing as fast as you would like? We grow by having new experiences, having the chance to try (and yes, sometimes fail). When people are being micromanaged, these things aren’t happening. The act of micromanagement directly inhibits these experiences.

How engaged are your people? There are many factors that lead to employee engagement but think about your career. When you felt micromanaged, what happened to your personal level of engagement?

How do you feel about the level of accountability you see? People are accountable for things they have a sense of ownership over. If every task is examined and every move is questioned, how much ownership will people feel?

Are you happy with the level of initiative your team members show? Most leaders and organizations would like team members who are proactively solving problems, looking at opportunities, and generally taking initiative. How likely is someone to do that when they feel micromanaged?

How much turnover do you have? It has been proven in studies and surveys – one of the principal reasons people voluntarily leave a job is because of their boss. Look at the list of items above. If people feel they can’t grow or develop, don’t trust their boss, and more, they are far more likely to leave. Is feeling micromanaged a root cause of those things? More often than many realize.

How many of these problems do you see in your organization? As you consider those you are facing, ask yourself – what is the role that micromanagement might be playing? Once you isolate the situations where micromanagement is hurting your organization, you will stop treating it as an isolated problem for some leaders and see it as a systemic problem that needs to be addressed across your leadership culture.


Micromanagement is just one challenge facing leaders in organizations. As the world continues to change, what is changing about the needs of leaders? Join me January 4 as I unpack what leaders must know in 2023. I will share my latest insights and how organizations can support leaders in bridging the change to leadership success in 2023 and beyond. All the details and free registration can be found here.

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Kevin Eikenberry is a recognized world expert on leadership development and learning and is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group ( He has spent nearly 30 years helping organizations across North America, and leaders from around the world, on leadership, learning, teams and teamwork, communication and more.
Twice he has been named by as one of the top 100 Leadership and Management Experts in the World and has been included in many other similar lists.

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