Micro-management … warning signs!

MicromanagementLisa Quast wrote an article for Business insider entitled, 10 Warning Signs of a Micro-manager. She wrote that a friend had been asked by HR to mentor a less experienced manager because of some indications of micromanagement. The friend asked some questions to verify whether or not micromanagement was occurring. However, it can be difficult to diagnose.

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines micromanagement as “management especially with excessive control or attention on details.” his priority leads. Often, this excessive obsession with minute details causes a direct management failure in the ability to focus on the major details.

Ten (10) factors that may indicate micromanagement are listed below. If you would like, you can read the original article here.

Here is my take on Lisa’s suggestions:

1. High turnover and attrition – Find out who has left the department after the new manager arrived and if possible determine why they left. HR may be able to help by reviewing exit interviews if they have that process. Evaluate how the manager responds to questions regarding why they believe each associate or team member left the department.

2. Low associate engagement – Not every company measures associate engagement surveys, but if they do, low results can also point to micromanager issues.

3. Avoiding the manager – If associates walk in the other direction when they see their manager approaching or roll their eyes in frustration? If you don’t observe open dialog and collaboration, this is not a positive sign.

4. Manager swamped with low-priority activities – Ask the manager to share some of their time management techniques and the tools they use. You should see an effort to prioritized their schedule and block out time to focus on high-priority projects.

5. No departmental strategic plan – Micro-managers tend to focus on minute details and not the big-picture. Check for well-defined quarterly or annual goals and objectives that are translated down to individual associates.

6. Over control of information flow – Micro-managers try to control the environment and out flow of information. Look for signs such as requesting to be copied on all emails or requiring that those outside of the department go through them before contacting one of their employees.

7. Failure to delegate – Delegation requires relinquishing some control. Evaluate how work is assigned and balanced to avoid overwork or boredom.

8. Ineffective delegation – Work is delegated or assigned but the manager tells the associate exactly how to do the work with frequent checks. This behavior should not be confused with coaching.

9. Manager does not proactively solicit input from the team – Micro-managers may tend to believe that they are the most knowledgeable as to how things should be done. Observe whether or not the manager engages others in discussions and solicits advice from experts.

10. Manager consider associates unappreciative – Associates and team members do not welcome all of the “help” the manager is providing. Most micro-managers are known to say: “My employees just don’t appreciate all the help I give them.”

Related Articles:   But Wait … Leaders Should Teach? and   15 Attributes of a Great Workplace

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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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