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Dealing With Micromanagement
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Dealing With Micromanagement


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Dealing With Micromanagement

Dealing With Micromanagement

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  • 1. Dealing with Micromanagement Orlando Moreno 408.656.2498 Empower your Business
  • 2. Introduction In the business world, the term “micromanagement” has assumed massive proportions, with almost everyone of us having witnessed this phenomenon at work. Whether you have experienced it first-hand, or observed it from close quarters, or heard it discussed around the office vending tea machine, you can never claim to be oblivious to the existence of this menace. And then again, there is a possibility that you’re a typical Type A micromanager yourself! Although most people like being managed, one can hardly say the same about micromanagement. So what is it that compels people to act like frenzied control freaks? How do you deal with ‘them’? Are you one of ‘them’? Let’s tackle the last one first. You have to know whether you’re a micromanager before you can do something about it. Here’s how you do a dipstick check. 408.656.2498 2
  • 3. How to tell if you are a micromanager •You feel compelled to keep telling people the ‘right’ way to do it, since they can obviously never do the work as well as you can. •You get personally offended and aggravated if you find a worker inefficient in their work. •Even if the work is done to satisfaction, you still want to fiddle with it before you let it pass your hands. •You need constant updates about the progress of work that is assigned to sub- ordinates, and here, constant can mean as little as 6 minutes. •You resist delegating work and immerse yourself in tasks that other people are supposed to carry out. •You keep nit-picking about small details and discourage people from making independent decisions. 408.656.2498 3
  • 4. Micromanaging is mostly associated with either Type A personalities or Theory X Leaders, but the need to micromanage could arise from good intentions as well. For example, if you ask a micromanager why they do it, they’ll tell you that they have a heightened sense of responsibility and ownership. This is true, people who micromanage are seen to have a greater sense of ownership, and fear of things going wrong, or working to the detriment of their organization. What this means at the ground level, however is two important things – one, the fact that they will not allow their subordinates to grow because they want to do everything themselves, and have all decisions, big or small, pass through them, and two, the fact that they make life literally unbearable for the folks below who actually know their job and are good at it. Also, most of the times, they will not let ownership build amongst their team because the team feels that whatever they do, will finally pass through their boss anyway, this leads to complacency. 408.656.2498 4
  • 5. The fact that micromanagers often end up being bottlenecks is another negative fallout. However efficient one may be, it is physically impossible to handle every little nitty-gritty of business by oneself – there will be times where the overall efficiency is compromised because something (which might otherwise be perfectly done in the first place) is waiting for the attention of the micromanager. So, if you are a micromanager, the chances are that sooner or later you will realize that the employees are spending an increasing amount of time thinking how to deal with their supervisor rather than actually working. If you wait long enough, most of the good self respecting people would have left and you would be left with a team of mediocre employees who just know one thing, follow orders, no questions asked. Good luck with that! 408.656.2498 5
  • 6. So what’s wrong with micromanagement? Sure you’ve read articles that say “micromanage and get things done”, and in all likelihood, at some point of time you have caught yourself thinking - “what’s wrong with these guys, it’s so simple, what’s taking them so long”, or “let me do this myself, it’ll be faster that way”. Well, there are two problems with this - first, by constantly barging into people, you take away their power to make any decisions on their own, this is how you are effectively disempowering them. A disempowered employee is an ineffective one - one who requires a lot of time and energy from his supervisor. 408.656.2498 6
  • 7. So what’s wrong with micromanagement? The other thing that micromanagement has going against it is that it is subject to the law of diminishing returns. In simple terms, what this means is that the first time you micromanage is the time you get the most return from it. This is because people will usually comply with you the first time even if they find something odd about your behavior, but over a period of time they develop a learned response to it, which usually is to not pay much attention or worse, respond aggressively. Need we remind people that micromanaging is just not a healthy attitude; it shows the supervisor’s general mistrust with his peers and sub-ordinates. 408.656.2498 7
  • 8. How to stop your micromanaging tendencies Acknowledge – Acknowledge that there is a problem. If you find that your team no longer offers suggestions or tells you outright that you have a controlling nature, that’s as big a sign you are going to get. Not acknowledging a problem is like a man who goes drunk into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and declares “but I don’t have a drinking problem”. Fat chance of HIM getting off alcohol! Manage Expectations – Decide and mutually agree on expectations from both parties, i.e., what you expect from your sub-ordinates and also what they expect from you as their manager. It may be a revelation to you that they may want you to “give them a little freedom of work” or “control your constant need to be updated”. Talk about the task at hand as much as you want to in the first go, let them know your requirements before they actually start working and then control the urge to continuously check on them. If people know that you’re counting on them, they’ll surprise you with good results. 408.656.2498 8
  • 9. How to stop your micromanaging tendencies Encourage Participation - “How do you plan to approach this?” “How are you planning to get buy- in on this?” “What are you going to do to get Marketing involved?” “Do you have any ideas for solving this problem?”, are just some things you can ask to increase the level of interaction and cohesiveness in a team. Let the employees know that their thoughts and opinions are valued, don’t ever snub someone just because you don’t agree with what they have to say. Don’t over criticize – You have to make sure that you are not the only one criticizing your team all the time – people will form a negative opinion about you. At least half of the criticism should come from the team itself - create a culture of self evaluation, where people talk about their improvement areas, real or perceived. Other than self critique being more accurate, it takes the heat off you so you don’t always have to be the bad guy. Remember the 70/30 rule, 70% praise and 30% criticism, and 0% criticism in front of other team members. 408.656.2498 9
  • 10. Are you being micromanaged? Oh dear! Okay, let’s move on to a situation where you are the one being micromanaged. We know how painful it can be to have someone breathing down your neck all the time. I remember a time when one of my pathologically micromanaging manager asked about the status of something before he sent out a mail telling me what has to be done in the first place! Needless to say, he wasn’t my manager for long. It is not only nagging, it comes in the way of your professional growth and development. 408.656.2498 10
  • 11. Are you being micromanaged? Oh dear! The fact that you don’t feel like coming to work every single day because you know that it’s going to be the same story all over again is stating the obvious, but there are deeper ramifications of this phenomenon. You’re constantly under stress, you are unconsciously wishing that your manager is on leave that (every) day, you want to break free, you want to move jobs, you may end up making wrong career choices under duress – worse, you want to physically assault the manager to make him see sense. He won’t, of course, but there are certain things that you CAN try. Here’s what to do to tackle the problem. 408.656.2498 11
  • 12. Are you being micromanaged? Oh dear! Simplest things – Arrive 10 minutes early before your boss and leave 10 minutes late, take a shorter lunch break if possible. Produce quality work. Check with him and update him about work before he has a chance to check on you, preferably once in the morning, afternoon and once before you leave. You might ask why do you have to do all this when the problem is with the supervisor’s attitude, but hey… who’s feeling the heat? Escalating the problem might also seem a simple step if you really think the pressure is to much to take, but think of all the possible repercussions first, do you have sufficient facts to back your case? 408.656.2498 12
  • 13. Are you being micromanaged? Oh dear! Dissociate – This is probably the most effective thing if you can do it, understand that micromanagers are generally type A people with high expectation, more often than not they don’t do it because they like to trouble you, but rather because they are compelled to. They have problems with delegating out tasks without retaining control, because they feel like their job will be axed for any failure. They may fear losing their job or worse taking the Company down if they are an owner. All you have to really do is to avoid taking it personally. Don’t act indifferent, just unperturbed, curt and professional. Think that you’re trying to help someone who needs help. 408.656.2498 13
  • 14. Are you being micromanaged? Oh dear! Stay aware and informed – Ask them all the details required to perform a particular job or task upfront before starting on it. Predict things that make them micromanage you and counter them before they get a chance. In order to do this you need to maintain a weekly journal highlighting the reason they tend to bother you with the most, and based on that information, build their confidence by giving them a dose of the updates they are usually looking for themselves. This way they will see in you an employee who know exactly what he is doing and he will begin to then, leave you to your work. 408.656.2498 14
  • 15. Are you being micromanaged? Oh dear! Help your boss – It’s a habit, don’t retaliate too hard and too fast. Help your boss change one micromanagement habit at a time. If you wish to communicate your unease, do not do so without highlighting your own strengths and accomplishments, it is very easy for a micromanager to jump from one task to another without realizing how much efforts you have put in, therefore make sure you both agree that you have done well. Anticipate potential problems and find solutions before they become a problem for him. Ask your boss what is missing or what would they like to see happen on the work front. 408.656.2498 15
  • 16. Are you being micromanaged? Oh dear! Break the task down into smaller tasks – A combined activity that the micromanager and the micromanaged can do is to device a communication plan for themselves wherein the task is divided into smaller sub-tasks and the timelines for each sub-task are decided and shared on their calendars so the micromanager would think twice before barging in onto the employee and also, the employee can set his own pace at the beginning of the task. Like with everything else in life, there are some incurable micromanagers stalking the corporate corridors, and nothing will make them come out of this compulsion. For people at both ends of the micromanagement stick – GOOD LUCK! 408.656.2498 16
  • 17. Questions Orlando Moreno 408.656.2498 408.656.2498 17