Bill Gates
(Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

Micromanagement is a typical leadership style used in business and involves displaying excessive supervision to employees.

Whilst micromanagers may have no intention of derailing others, their methods are deemed unpopular by many due to the limitation they put on a worker's independence.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates previously micromanaged his staff during his early days at the tech company. The billionaire would memorise the license plates of his employees' vehicles to track them.

During an interview with BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs program, Gates revealed, "I knew everyone's license plate, so I could look out in the parking lot and see when people came in, when were they leaving. Eventually, I had to loosen up as the company got to a reasonable size."

Micromanagement is still deployed across many organisations today, and bosses believe it is effective. In some instances, this may not be true, and people may not even realise they are micromanagers.

Here are signs that you are using a micromanagement style at work:

You Must Know Every Detail

If you need to be kept in the loop about all the specific details of a project your staff are working on, it indicates you are micromanaging. Constantly obsessing over what your employees are getting on with and asking for updates will reduce their confidence levels.

This is because you will be displaying distrust towards them, preventing them from carrying out their duties effectively. This can also push other high-performing staff away as they will feel they cannot thrive under your leadership.

It is unnecessary to keep asking for updates through detailed records, as you will likely get the same information relayed multiple times.

A way to deal with this could be to have weekly meetings with employees so you can consume all the recent and relevant information at one time.

You Are Fearful of Losing Authority

Micromanagers often want to control all proceedings as they believe everything must be done according to their preference. To ensure this, you will likely schedule multiple meetings to inform staff about every minor detail you want them to follow.

As you are worried your employees will be able to thrive on their own, you will put excessive guidelines in place to stifle the creativity they may possess. As staff know every finer detail must be approved, they become hesitant to work on a task because you will inevitably pull back on their ideas.

This ends up with you staying in control and most duties being overseen precisely to your liking. Your trusted allies lose faith in you because you are highly obsessed with remaining in charge.

All successful businesses allow their employees to challenge decisions and offer contrasting opinions.

You Believe No One Can Be Smarter Than You

The ego of some micromanagers halts them from thinking that others can carry out a job to the same level or better than them. If you are a boss who assumes this, there is a strong chance your team's performance levels will stagnate.

Staff must operate in an environment where they are encouraged to learn from their mistakes and be able to voice their own opinions. Many organisations require a collaborative working environment, which is the best chance of displaying innovation.

Micromanagers may display this one-way approach whenever they remind other workers of their vast experience levels during creative discussions or when making important decisions. This should be avoided as it can belittle other employees and make them feel inferior or qualified.

If you believe a worker has done something you dislike, do not set up a meeting to assert your control. Constructive feedback can consist of you still letting staff know about positive duties that they have carried out.

Ultimately, a micromanager can only change their leadership ways if they are self-aware and emotionally intelligent. If you are unwilling to adapt even after an employee makes suggestions, there is a chance your work team may fall apart.