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Kirjoittanut: Esme Luhtala - tiimistä FLIP Solutions.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 4 minuuttia.

The team has called me out to be a micromanager. I of course denied it strongly. 


But after enough comments suggesting it, I have no choice but to start exploring this pity possibility. My first reactions to the matter were something around ‘people are just surprised since they are finally confronted and followed up on if their performance isn’t on a certain level.’ Someone could call that classic thinking of a micromanager.


Part of the reason why micromanaging has lifted its head in my personal behavior is a fear of team members’ failure to do the agreed things and tasks. There has been a need and a request from the leader to follow up on things more closely than before. Team members haven’t trusted each other on the matter, and since I’m also inside the team listening to others, it has treacherously impacted my normally more hidden control freak side.


Action plan to reduce the grip:

  • Ask groups and people with different tasks, do they want me (or someone else) to follow up on the matter even outside the by-weekly meetings. If yes, when? 
    • Stick to the agreement. 
    • If a team member is concerned about someone else’s task, I will not take it as my responsibility to figure it out for them, but guide going straight to the person responsible for the matter. 
  • Delete me from Teams’ chats where I don’t have to be.
    • Different groups are more than capable to contact me via other channels when they think it is necessary. 
    • I should be easily reachable and helpful even though I wouldn’t be in the specific chats.
  • Instead of proposing my own perspective, ask questions from another so that they can come to a solution themselves. Trust that their solution works even though I would have done something differently. 


Mostly micromanaging is the person’s own problem to fix, but the symptom may also indicate challenges within the organization. I collected some points that could potentially help reduce the temptation for micromanaging.


Lack of clear accountability system. 

Our current accountability system is almost fully built around by-weekly meetings and unofficial discussions. 


Discussions have a challenge of no one being able to go back and check what was actually agreed upon. In these situations confronting someone for lack of accountability is burdensome and risky. If things have not been recorded somewhere, misunderstandings and word-against-word situations are a significant challenge – especially to the one trying to keep another accountable.


By-weekly meetings ‘In the last meeting’ -section shows what has been written down two weeks ago. I argue that motivation to get things done increases when they are easily visible to others. One problem with the current by-weekly meeting system is that it does not support various time windows properly. Many things should be done and followed upon in a quicker paste than in two-week cycles and other matters would need more long-term follow-up. 


In bi-weekly meetings, it might be too easy for participants to set themselves imprecise targets. If it feels like they provide unbound answers because they can’t trust themselves to do things as they have announced in advance, it might erode trust in their work. If the person doesn’t report anything on the task themselves, when, how, and who should be following up on it? Is it ever okay to follow up on things outside by-weekly meetings? If yes, when?



When others know that you will ask for feedback when it matters and help if it would benefit the work, it is easier to trust the person’s process without assurances or mid-checks. Sometimes when asked ‘What is up – everything going ok?’ it feels the easiest to laugh at the matter and answer something chill and positive. In the long run and when building trust, giving a more detailed version as an answer could benefit more.


Micromanaging is often caused by a lack of trust. Before condemning something into micromanagement, it might be worth the while to think about what might have led to the situation. Have you been arriving late or missed deadlines? Or forgot to fix mistakes before returning something as ‘ready’? Evaluating these from a fellow teammate’s perspective, or even asking them about it might help. If you did find some unsatisfactory behavior – could it have something to do with the lack of trust?


Diverse expectations

Micromanager often has too high or even unrealistic expectations of others’ work. At the team level, most likely all Proakatemia teams have had challenges at least with one topic dividing expectations – essays. If possible, creating or at least discussing the expectations pre-hand might solve misunderstandings and also help micromanagers to hold back on their worries.


For this essay, I read multiple articles about the topic, made a ‘Are You a Micromanager’ -quiz, and discussed my behavior with multiple parties who work closely with me. The essay isn’t long or too deep, but it tells something about my recent mental landscapes and self-reflection. According to Harry E. Chambers, nine of out 10 managers whose employees bolted due to micromanagement don’t realize that they drove those employees away (Chambers 2014). Since most micromanagers (apparently) aren’t aware that they would be doing anything wrong, I guess that tells that I’m on a good path.



Background materials:

Chambers, E. 2004. My Way or the Highway: The Micromanagement Survival Guide. Oakland: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.


Wilkins, M. 2014.Signs That You Are a Micromanager. Harvard Business Review. Read on 24.4.2022. https://hbr.org/2014/11/signs-that-youre-a-micromanager


Geoffrey, J. Quiz: Are You a Leader or a Micromanager? Inc.com. Read on 24.2.2022. https://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/quiz-are-you-a-micromanager.html

Indeed Editorial Team. 2021. Why Do People Micromanage? (Plus How To Respond to a Micromanager). Indeed. Read on 24.4.2022. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/micromanagement


Johnson, E. 2016. How leaders can focus oon the big picture? Harward Business Review. Read on 24.2.2022.



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