The Boss Show

Workplace wisdom with heart and humor

April 7, 2011

Making It Real: Micromanaging

By Steve Motenko

If you’re a boss, and you’d like to make sure you’re not micromanaging:

  • Ask each of your employees, in a one-on-one, “In what ways do I micromanage you?”  Not “Do I micromanage you?” because their fear of the boss – or just not wanting to hurt your feelings – might lead them to lie.  And when you ask this question, you have to want to know the truth.  Can you handle the truth?  Because not handling the truth might mean you’re creating a culture in which your best people – the self-motivated ones, the self-disciplined ones, the ones who need micromanaging the least and hate it the most – are going to leave when the right job comes up. Nobody likes being micromanaged.
  • And when they tell you the truth about how you micromanage them, ask for their help in making it better.  Ask them to let you know when you’re not allowing them as much autonomy and creativity as they can handle.
  • Now if you’re worried that without micromanaging, the work won’t get done?  Read Plank 10 of our book, Land On Your Feet, Not on Your Face, available at, and follow its step-by-step instructions for getting the most out of your employees, one assignment at a time.

And if you’re not a boss, but your boss micromanages you?  Ask them to listen to this show — or slip them, anonymously, a copy of this blog post.  Hope it helps.


About the Author

Steve Motenko is an executive coach, leadership trainer, and co-host of The Boss Show, a weekly podcast on workplace dynamics. Steve and his Boss Show co-host, Jim Hessler, are co-authors of Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guide to Building Your Leadership Platform. Steve lives on Whidbey Island, Washington, with his wife and dog, whom he loves, and a cat he tolerates usually pretty well.

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