Are You a micromanager?

Micro ManagingMany people think they are being effective managers are shocked to learn their actions are stifling growth and creativity. The cause? Not realizing they’re the dreaded micro-manager.

What is micro-management?
Dictionary.com defines micromanagement as “to manage or control with excessive attention to minor details.”  Micro-managers tend to focus on the how versus focusing on the outcome or the results. They will often demand that a task or project is executed in a particular way rather than affording autonomy or flexibility to the team or individual being micro-manager.

Why is micromanagement bad?
Micro-managers are bad for organizations and bad news for associates. Why? They dis-empower staff, stifle opportunity and innovation, and instead of creating a results focused work environment, they give rise to poor performance.

Signs of micromanagement:
The best way to way to minimize the effects of micromanagement is to identify the signs to determine if it is present:

1. Hard time delegating work
2. Looking at the detail instead of the big picture
3. Monitoring what’s least important and not on the results
4. Inserting themselves in the work of others without first consulting them
5. Immersing themselves in projects / activities assigned to others
6. Discouraging others from making decisions about how to complete a task / project
7. Dictating that work is performed in a very particular way versus focusing on a successful outcome
8. Taking back delegated work before it’s finished or ready for review
9. Constantly checking in on progress at unrealistic intervals and hovering
10. Demanding unrealistic turnaround times without consulting with the employee on when they think they could get the job done
11. A demotivated team with low performance
12. High employee turnover

How to Manage Micro-Managers
Often when you’re being micro-managed, you might feel helpless and held back from growing professionally. Micromanagement can be a hard battle to fight. There are a few things that you can do to help ease it.

1. Look at what you’re doing (or not doing) – Identify the areas that you need to improve and work on that. And, if you feel comfortable, ask your manager what you do differently. Make sure you document your improvements so that you can share this with your manager whenever necessary.
2. Identify patterns – After a while, you should be able to identify patterns in your micro manager’s behavior. Watch for what causes certain outbursts related to your work.
3.  Understand your manager’s persona – Try to see things from their perspective, understand their motivations and get clear on the business objectives they are responsible for achieving. Uncovering their motivations and goals can help you better anticipate their needs and help you better manage them.
4. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – Once you’re “attuned” to you micro-manager and understand both their goals and motivations, work with them to establish your KPIs. By clearly identifying what you’re responsible for and how you’re going to meet your KPIs should help remove any emotion from their decisions. More importantly this will help align them with a results focused management style versus focusing on unimportant details.
5. Constant communication – Now that you better understand their persona and have uncovered their behavioral patterns, get ahead of them by anticipating their needs. In the beginning, while you’re trying to establish trust, send daily status updates about progress on projects you’re working on, highlight where you’ve had success and where you’re looking for their input. Couple this with a weekly 1-on-1, try doing this away from a conference room or the office so they take their mind away from their behavior patterns! The hope is this will help you build a positive relationship with your manager and reduce the micromanagement tendencies.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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Posted in Leadership, Performance Management

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