Micromanage: Definition & Concept

Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
Have you ever been subject to an anal-retentive boss who just won't stop nitpicking? In this lesson, we'll learn about micromanagement, including why it can be a problem. A short quiz follows the lesson.


A manager micromanages when he becomes extremely involved in all details of the work of his subordinates to the point where the manager is making all the decisions regardless of how trivial. You can think of micromanagement as a form of meddling by managers when there really isn't a justifiable reason for their involvement.


Let's say you work as an administrative assistant for a large corporation on the 17th floor of its corporate headquarters in one of the 35 cubicles on the floor. You are supervised by the lead administrative assistant on the floor who constantly nags you about your work:

  • Even though the company office manual permits the use of three different style fonts for internal communications, your boss demands you use a specific font.
  • She also requires that you staple all documents in the top left-hand corner of the page no more than two centimeters below the top edge of the page.
  • You are permitted to make photocopies only at 10:15 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. each day unless she gives you permission to do it at another time.
  • You may use only black ink, and never blue. Use of pencils is permitted only when performing mathematical calculations.
  • She demands that you present every piece of correspondence for her review; she will make stylistic changes to meet her personal tastes.
  • Post-it notes are strictly prohibited and paperclips frowned upon.

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