No, Micromanagers Are Not Great Leaders



My passion is helping high-performing Women of Color in social work leadership achieve career fulfillment by getting clear on what they want, elevating their confidence, and centering their accomplishments. My personal philosophy on leadership is that:

  1. Leadership is a privilege
  2. Leadership is about impact and influence, not a title
  3. Leadership is earned, not demanded
  4. Leadership is about transformation, not transactions
  5. Great leaders create more great leaders

One thing that has been consistent in my work over the last 20+ years is adaptability and initiative were required to succeed. What I have come to realize is that I require autonomy and flexibility in order to excel. I don’t work well with micromanagers – in fact, no one does. Micromanagement is fear-based. I believe micromanagers lack confidence and are more unsure of themselves than they are of their team. I also believe that micromanagers need leadership development training.

Micromanagement is so far from my leadership style that it is practically foreign to me. I’ve never had the desire nor the time to micromanage anyone. I believe in hiring amazing people and giving them the resources, support, and space to do an amazing job. If one of my staff members requires an unusual amount of supervision and direction, I have not hired well, not onboarded properly, or need to inquire about other issues that may be impacting their job performance. The solutions I see are to retrain, offer employee assistance program support, or release if a performance improvement plan is not met, not micromanage.

I’ve worked with a micromanager in a position I rarely speak about. My solution to the problem today is different than my solution would have been a decade ago. I just don’t have time for foolishness at this age and stage of my life. I will not participate, whereas in the past I would have pushed back diplomatically (at first), set new boundaries, and then concentrated on the work that mattered. A decade ago I would have dedicated more time to managing up, but today I recognize the red flags and look for the exit. I am NOT telling anyone to engage with micromanagers in the same way. I will not encourage anyone to resolve an issue in a way that threatens their employment, but I will encourage them to consider all their options, which includes a letter of resignation because micromanagement causes unnecessary stress, resentment, and doubt.

If you are a micromanager at odds with your staff, feeling incompetent in your ability to lead, or desiring new leadership strategies for your next level in leadership, let’s connect to discuss how individual leadership coaching can empower you.



Nicki Sanders, MSW, supports high-performing women of color in social work leadership in developing careers that feed their hearts, minds, and wallets. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams, volunteer recruitment and retention, and social impact programming. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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