An insecure leader seeks control in order to validate their own efforts.

The boss that breathes down your neck, is always in the corner of your eye, who sees to every little task; the micromanager can be a constant weight which stifles creativity and inspires insecurities. An insecure leader makes a great micromanager, they are constantly, often without noticing, doing checks on themselves and their own performance which naturally trickles down into an innate over-hands-on approach to what others around them are doing.

An insecure leader seeks control in order to validate their own efforts. When things then go wrong, blame is passed on to others which in turn fuels an insecure leader’s desire to extinguish failure through overbearing control.

If micro-management can occur without you noticing, or even out of good intentions, how can a secure leader find a firm balance between passivity and hyper-control with their colleagues?

Be passionate, but in the right way

First, it’s worth recognising that sometimes micromanagers seem the most passionate leaders. Leaders with strong convictions and vivid goals can often become insecure when they feel that their team does not, or cannot, share their convictions. Here, passionate leader can find their confidence becoming a slippery slope into insecurity. When micro-managed, people can come to resent your vision as being non-inclusive or egocentric.

In order to navigate the line between conviction and over-conviction, a secure leader must marry their passion with a clear plan on how to execute their ideas; a leader must be able to differentiate easily between the key ideas of a project and not infatuate themselves with the smaller details that are not essential for an idea’s execution.


Set expectations, early

In our experience the worst micro-managers often find their name coming up in phrases beginning with ‘I wonder’, ‘I worry’, and ‘what will’: what will my boss think of this? I wonder if they will be ok with this decision? I’m worried they won’t agree with my choice.

An insecure leader struggles to set expectations with others, either because they lack confidence in their ability to delegate and set firm objectives, or because they lack faith in their team to achieve them. Either way, a secure leader communicates their goals and expectations with a team early on; it is better to establish expectations early on than it is to reinforce them throughout. The leader’s job from then on is to obtain the resources that their team needs to achieve their goal. They drive their team’s decision-making forward only intervening when necessary.


The question to ask: how self-aware are you of your own leadership style and its impact on the organisation? 6 Group has extensive experience in helping leadership teams understand where their greatest impacts and risks are to the performance and culture of the organisations they manage.  If you would like to learn more about how we can help you and your Leadership team, please contact us at or by the form below.

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