No One Wants to be a Micromanager

Jake Wilder
4 min readSep 2, 2022

But It Happens Anyway

Photo: iStock

No manager wants to be a micromanager.

No leader looks forward to demoralizing their people through overinvolvement. I’ve yet to find anyone who takes on a management role so that they can just do everyone else’s work.

But it happens. Because it’s an easy trap to fall into.

Let’s say you’re an engineering manager.

You were a great engineer. You handled the technical work better than anyone. It’s a big part of why you were promoted in the first place.

And your team’s happy to have you as the new boss. They’re excited to have someone who understands their work and appreciates the challenges they face each day. They’re looking forward to having a manager who can help them improve.

It’s a big change. New responsibilities. But you’re an engineer who’s going to help other engineers do their jobs better. You can do that. After all, you know what it takes to succeed. You’ve been doing it for years.

So, you dig into the details. You involve yourself in everyone’s work. And you quickly realize that they’re doing all sorts of things wrong. It’s not how you would do it at all.

Why are they doing it that way? Why is everything taking so long? Why are they making things more difficult?

Why don’t people just do things like you would?

Suddenly it’s clear. You know how to help. You just need to show them how you would do it.

And so that’s what you do. Step by step. Detail by detail. You show them exactly how to do the job. Your way. The better way.

Except it doesn’t go like you think. They don’t appreciate your help. People start pushing back.

Your team gets upset. They’re confused over your expectations. They stop taking initiative because they don’t know what you’re looking for. They hide issues because they don’t want you to take over their work.

Performance gets worse. Now you need to get even more involved to turn things around.

But there’s only so much you can do. Soon, you’re spread too thin, and mistakes start slipping through. Issues happen. They compile. Things get even…

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Jake Wilder

I don’t know where I’m going. But at least I know how to get there.