The Warning Signs of a Micro-Manager



Recently, I listened to an NPR piece that focused on an all too common problem for companies - the micro-manager.  You can listen to the story here:


Bottom line - if you are a micro-manager, there is a good chance that you have employees who are not feeling the love.  But what is a micro-manager and how can the Predictive Index provide some insights into helping this ‘sometimes’ dreaded supervisor move from overbearing management to supportive management (if and when required)?


Let’s start with a definition.  Investopedia describes a micro-manager this way:


A micro-manager is a boss or manager who gives excessive supervision to employees. A micro-manager, rather than telling an employee what task needs to be accomplished and by when, will watch the employee's actions closely and provide rapid criticism if the manager thinks it's necessary.


Given that the number one reason people leave their jobs is because of their manager, it becomes critically important for a manager to understand if their management style is demotivating their employees. Fortunately, for those of us that may tend toward micro-management, the Predictive Index methodology can help in a number of ways.


Let’s start with a little self-awareness.  If your PI Profile shows that you are high in Dominance (A) AND high in Formality (D), you have more of a natural tendency to micro-manage.   Why?  Your high Dominance makes you want to have things done your way, and your high Formality wants things done accurately with high quality.   What better way to ensure that things get done just the way you want than to look over the shoulder of your employee as they are doing the task! Now add a low B (Extraversion) into that profile with a low C (Patience), and you have the perfect blend for micro-management.  The low B makes you less concerned about how people feel toward you, and your low C adds a sense of urgency that makes you very deadline conscious - wanting to get the job done quickly.   Even more reason to check on your employee’s progress on, shall we say, a ‘regular’ basis.


But wait, if you are High A (Dominance) and D (Formality), and Low B (Extraversion) and C (Patience) are you destined to micro-manage throughout your career?  Not if you accept your tendencies and do something about them.  


Here is where PI Midlantic can help.  First, anyone completing a PI Behavioral Assessment can receive a Personal Development Chart, chock full of self-awareness tips on how to improve their interactions with employees based on how they are behaviorally wired.  


The second way PI can help is in understanding the PI Profiles of your employees.  What is seen as overbearing management by one employee may be considered supportive management by another.   A high A (Dominant) person will very likely rail against micro-management (or what is now being referred by some as helicopter management).  A low Dominance person, who is more cooperative, collaborative and team oriented, actually needs regular management interaction and support (as long as it is not overbearing). If you have been a long time micro-manager, it’s time to evolve to being a more supportive manager (for those Low A team members that see that as a positive).   Good luck on your journey!


See your PI Consultant to learn more about our “Managing People to Perform” workshop for Managers.  It is designed to help managers become more self-aware, while at the same time providing tools to help them motivate their teams to top performance. (based on each team member’s unique PI profile).