If your boss is a micromanager, this is probably why

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Emily Badiozzaman

Your boss may be a particularly annoying monkey on your back, the kind that keeps pulling your hair, giving you wet willies and micromanaging you to exhaustion... but now there’s an interesting reason why they won’t just leave you to it.

According to a new study published in Personality and Individual Differences, it’s probably because they feel powerless.

In typical filter-down fashion, their lack of actual control causes them to check if you sent that email, chasing you for the fifteenth time in ten minutes and making you get up so they can just do it themselves.

The study, conducted by the University of California and led by Michael P. Haselhuhn, asked 238 people at a European business school questions like “In my relationships with others, I can get them to listen to what I say.” They were then asked whether employees could be trusted or not, and the results showed that those with less power felt that employees couldn’t be trusted.

It’s a rule that applies to life in general apparently: The New York Times Magazine quotes psychotherapist Wendy Behary, author of the brilliantly-titled Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving With the Self-Absorbed, as explaining that those who have been made to feel out of control as children tend to try and dominate others throughout their lives.

It’s high time you thanked your mum and dad for not turning you into a corporate wanker, eh?


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Emily Badiozzaman

Emily is a freelance writer for She covers breaking news, entertainment, style and lifestyle for the site. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found eating and drinking or thinking about food and drinking. Follow Emily on Twitter: @ebadiozzaman 

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