Anyone who’s been in the workforce for any length of time has probably experienced, to some degree or another, the hell that is micromanagement. To understand what you are up against, let’s begin with trip inside the mind of the micromanager.
The more some people are given responsibility the more they fear losing control. To reduce their anxieties they seek information in as many ways as possible, resulting in over-reporting, multiple unplanned meetings, and helicopter management. Because this behaviour is usually unconscious, it is also haphazard which is even more frustrating and disruptive. Secondly, micromanagement is often about needing to stay in one’s comfort zone. Many managers are promoted on their ability to focus on detail and get things done, and not on their people and project management skills. For some people it’s just not possible to adjust to leadership and so they remain stuck in the comfort of doing their old jobs, to the detriment of their teams. There’s also a theory that a certain type of manager believes that people are basically lazy and need to be constantly prodded to get anything done.
So what can we do about it? If you have been told you are a micromanager, then it’s probably true. Here are some tips on how to address some of the classic symptoms.
And, here are some ways to help manage your micromanager:
Of course there will be times when it’s not possible to manage your micromanager. Don’t beat yourself up. If you know you are performing well, you cannot be held accountable for someone who is not yet ready to be a leader. Mentioning the problem at your exit interview (do contractors still have those?) and high staff turnover will send the message soon enough.