Every workplace has one—the manager who wants to know what you’re doing, when you’re doing it and how you’re doing it at all times. They may even take charge of projects they initially asked you to oversee. If this sounds like your boss, then you’ve got a micromanager on your hands. While micromanagers may have good intentions, they ultimately have a negative impact on your performance and prevent you from professional growth. How can you be sure your boss is a micromanager? Take the quiz below by adding one point for each statement that applies to you.
1. Your manager checks in on you constantly.
While it’s expected of a manager to check in on their direct reports to see what they’re doing and if they need any assistance, a micromanager crosses the line by always wanting to know where you are and what you’re working on.
2. When asking you to complete a task, your manager tells you, in detail, how to complete the assignment.
A manager will assign a task and may even provide suggestions on how you should go about it, while a micromanager will tell you exactly how you should complete the task, leaving no room for your input or opinion.
3. Your manager indicates being swamped at work but refuses to delegate any projects to you.
Even though you’ve offered to help your clearly stressed manager with one of the many projects on his or her plate, your manager hesitates to relinquish anything to you or another direct report, instead preferring to oversee everything from start to finish.
4. Your manager wants constant status reports on the progress of a project.
A manager will typically want occasional status reports on a project to ensure it’s moving along smoothly, however a micromanager wants to be much more involved, seeking continuous updates to the point where it delays the completion of the project.
5. Your manager gives you a task to complete but later decides to do it him or herself.
When assigning projects, one of the ways a micromanager shows his or her true colors is by reclaiming control. It may be a subtle action, in which your manager slowly but surely takes over, or an immediate decision. Regardless, the project is no longer yours.
6. Your manager has a tendency to withhold information because he or she doesn’t think you need to know.
Of course you should not always be privy to everything your manager is working on, but if you have a boss who has a tendency to hold back information from you, forcing you to rely heavily on that person to do your job, your manager is micromanaging.
7. Your manager requires you to seek his or her permission before you start a task.
While a manager may appreciate the initiative taken when you decide to take on a task on your own, a micromanager frowns upon an employee taking action without his or her consent and will likely require the employee to seek permission before starting anything.
8. You constantly feel anxious around your manager and are afraid of making a mistake.
When working under a manager, you should feel as though you have a balance between the autonomy you desire and support from your supervisor, but when working under a micromanager, you likely feel neither autonomy nor support.
9. Your manager constantly questions your judgment and decision-making.
A micromanager lacks trust in his or her employees, often without justification. This leads to continuous suspicions regarding their direct reports’ judgment calls and ability to make decisions without guidance.
10. Others around you refer to your manager as a micromanager.
The most obvious sign of a micromanager: when your peers or those who know your boss refer to him or her as a micromanager.
Now tally your points to find out if your boss is a micromanager:
0-2: You have nothing to worry about. Sounds like you have a great manager!
3-5: Your manager shows hints of being a micromanager but has not completely crossed over.
6-8: Warning! You have a manager who’s very close to being a full-blown micromanager.
9-10: Your boss is a complete micromanager and has created a toxic work environment for you.
So, is your boss a micromanager?
If, after taking the quiz, you discover you have a micromanager for a boss, there are ways to cope. As a virtual career coach, I have helped many clients handle sensitive micromanaging situations so that they can excel in their careers. I have also provided executive coaching to micromanagers to help them amend their behavior.
The workplace is never easy to navigate, but with some guidance, it can be done. Subscribe to my blog to learn more effective tips on how to handle workplace relationships and career growth.