Confessions Of A Recovering Micromanager


Why do we micromanage? It may not always be intentional, but for some of us, it just seems to happen.

Chieh Huang, CEO of, says it’s because in our careers, we typically start out at the bottom. We’re the ones doing the work. And when you’re really good at doing the work, you get rewarded by getting more work. Then you start to manage the ones doing the work; or manage the ones who manage the ones who do the work. And when you get so far ahead, you start to lose control over the outcome. Then you start nitpicking and focusing on the work itself instead of leading the company.

In doing so, we create an environment and a culture that’s not exactly ideal. As Huang explains, studies show that the employees who are the most fatigued and burnt out aren’t actually the ones doing the most work. It’s the ones who don’t have control over their own jobs. Think about it. If someone is constantly looking over your shoulder or telling you exactly how to do something every step of the way, it can be frustrating; and then it becomes mentally exhausting.

But the question we have to ask ourselves is this: Is failure really that bad? Can we let our people try something on their own, and accept the small risk that they might fail? “It’s actually necessary for people truly trying to fulfill the mission or the task at hand. In actuality, [failure] is a milestone along the path to success.”

So take a look at this video for a comical, engaging story about someone who has learned to overcome the need to micromanage. We could all learn something. And if you take away anything from it, let it be this:

“There is only one solution to micromanagement. And that’s to trust.”

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