The Micromanager

Have you ever been in a situation where the person you reported to tried to tell you how to do everything? How did you handle it? The micromanager is someone that is frequently encountered by employees at all levels.

Some Clarification

When I say micromanager I am not referring to someone who makes sure that their employees are doing what they are hired to do and have clear guidelines for their role. That is normal and healthy. I am also not talking about someone who is trying to train a new employee or get an employee back on track. Sometimes an employee has shown that they lack some skill or knowledge that is necessary to perform their job. Again, it is normal and healthy for their manager to take some extra time to walk alongside them as they get up to speed.

What is the Micromanager?

The real micromanager is someone who insists on directing every activity of competent and well-trained employees. I’m convinced that some of them are so concerned an error may be made that they do not trust anyone but themselves. As a result they hover over their employees and in essence drive them crazy, while at the same time robbing these employees of job satisfaction and turn off employees’ desire to learn and be creative problem-solvers. I recall a situation quite a few years ago where one of the partners in a business constantly sent emails directing routine activities of those reporting to him. Interestingly, many of the things were already being addressed by one of them. Even more interesting was that the subject of the current email was always the most pressing and an emergency. Quite frankly, this was not really the case, but it was the reality he created for himself. I even recall him taking an employee’s email, modifying it to make it look like they were saying something significantly different, and then forwarding it to the other partner’s office in another city to achieve his own personal objectives. Needless to say, he frustrated nearly everyone, and these people were highly competent and on top of things. Do you think they liked the working environment?

micromanagerThe Solution

If you find yourself in the situation of working for a micromanager you can take certain steps to free yourself of this.

  1. Talk to your manager and express your concern. Establish a process to gradually help them become confident that you can do the work
  2. Establish ways to provide feedback to your manager. The idea is to gradually increase the time between these reports and the level of detail required
  3. Be diligent about keeping the manager up to date on what you are doing. As they become more comfortable the frequency of this should decrease
  4. If every effort to resolve this fails, find another job. It’s not worth it to remain unhappy in your work

If You are the Micromanager

If you’re a micromanager and realize it, take a look at the solution above. If you want to get away from this practice (and you should), implement some of these same things. Be warned though; at first it will feel uncomfortable, but the payoff will be worth it.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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