One of the biggest issues you’ll ever face in the business world is having a manager that loves to micromanage their people. Micromanagement is the bane of free thought. It kills collaboration, makes people feel inferior, and annihilates free thought.
For years I’ve been a student of leadership, and I’ve followed John Maxwell and learned a lot from him. One of the things he teaches is that leadership is influence, nothing more, and nothing less.
However the character of the leader matters a lot, because there the ones deciding where the group goes, how they’ll get there, and deciding how to treat people.
I know full well that I don’t have all the answers, and when I have a creative team to work with, I understand that we can come up with something better.
Top Reasons Micromanagement Doesn’t Work
As I started above when people micromanage, they tend to kill a lot of good options that are the natural output of a team.
What Micromanaging Does.
- It Kills Creativity
- Cuts Off Options; Giving Tunnel Vision
- Makes People Feel Inferior
It Kills Creativity:
Micromanagement Kills Productivity Because The Worker Is Constantly Dealing With Being Second Guessed By Their Manager. This Causes A Slow Down Of Efficiency. Instead Of Moving Fast On A Project They Get Bogged Down In The Weeds Of It. Micromanaging Adds Undo Stress And Extra Steps To The Process.
Cuts Off Options; Giving Tunnel Vision
When creativity is killed many people won’t be able to adapt and see problems that need to be solved, or if they do see it, they won’t like to address them. Many times people just put their head down and work in this situation.
Makes People Feel Inferior
Micromanagers tend to make people feel inferior, it’s one of the reasons tunnel vision comes into play. They don’t want to admit theirs a flaw to the manager, because the manager will talk down to them expecting more. However if the manager finds the issue themselves then they hear about it.
All in all, micromanaging breaks the spirit of a team, only uniting in a desire for their manager to go away.
Why Do People Micromanage?
I don’t have an exhaustive list, but as I think of managers I’ve worked with in the past. I can come up with a few reasons.
Reason People Will Micromanage
- They Are Insecure About Their Position
- The Manager Doesn’t Have The Skill To Lead, But Did For The Job
- They Don’t Trust The People Around Them
They Are Insecure About Their Position
Many managers get promoted and get excited because they’re earning extra money. However with more money comes more responsibility, and many people lack proper leadership and people skills for their jobs.
They have obtained a sense of authority, but don’t know how to exercise it. So instead of giving advice and trying to make things better for the team, they try to fix every little issue. People complain to them about others and they jump on the issues. All problems will fall in their wake.
It’s how a micromanager is born.
The Manager Doesn’t Have The Skill To Lead, But Did For The Job
This is a very common issue in the sales world, many great salesman have been promoted to a position called Sales Manager (or something like that). However what makes a good salesman doesn’t necessarily equate to a sales manager.
In the end they struggle to lead, and try to micromanage their team to sell exactly like they did. After all, that’s how they became successful right? Why wouldn’t it work for every one else? In the end these once great salesman burn out, and micromanagement takes another victim.
They Don’t Trust The People Around Them
I’ve seen in most of the micro managers I’ve dealt with, and it kind of encompasses the last few reasons as well. In reality those are micromanagers don’t trust the people around them.
And it shows.
This might occur because the employee has never been that trusted by the manager, or they could just be a giant self absorbed narcissist.
In todays business world, micromanagement rarely works. It’s something that needs to go away. However we are broken people living in a fallen world so that’s kinda doubtful.
Can Micromanagement Ever Be Considered Good?
The only place I can see it ever being good is in the military. Although I don’t necessarily see it as micromanagement. It’s more discipline. Now I’ve never been in the military, so hopefully I’ll get corrected if I’m wrong.
In the military everything is planned out from the top down. Your bunk is squared away, there’s a spot/place for every tool, and when they’re not in use they can be found easily.
Many of these factors are what micro managers are trying to achieve. Why don’t they achieve them?
A Few Reasons Why.
- The Military Is A Totally Different Beast Than An Office.
- People In The Military Have To Switch Jobs At A Moments Notice
- The Military Always Needs To Be At The Ready.
I could go into detail on those points, but I think they explain themselves. An office is a place where people go to work and make money. The money is used to live and support their families. Also remember they only spend 40-50 hours a week there and you’ll understand they have divided loyalties.
I don’t know of any of any closer example to micromanagement than this one, and it still doesn’t fit as well.
How To Deal With Micromanagement.
There are many ways to help a manager break away from micromanagement. However one of the best things to avoid, is challenging them outright. This always ends badly for the challenger, and you might get disciplined or fired. I DON’T recommend that…
Even If I’ve Tried It A Few Times…It Always Ended Badly.
- Jump Ahead And Tell The Manager About Future Potholes In The Plan
- Have Solutions Ready For Problems That Could Arise
- Help Them Brainstorm Ideas
Many of these ideas involve looking ahead seeing problems and mitigating them before the manager sees them. However you will have to tell the manager about them at one point or another. Depending on the project, you’ll have to make that decision.
However I always like to tell before the plan is implemented, and I ask them for feedback. This shows respect to the manager, and as snowboarders say on the mountain.
Respect Gets RespectAnonymous
You need to earn their trust, and by showing them the problems and some solutions you’ve come up with, you’re showing initiative. This is a good thing and one of the best ways to get a micro manager off your back.
Micromanagement; Don’t Forget It’s Only A Job
Don’t forget it’s only a job. If you can’t take it anymore and you’ve tried earning their trust. They might be a jerk in charge. Don’t stay in an unhealthy environment any longer than is necessary.
If all else fails, mitigate the risk. Find a new job, cut and run. Life is to short to be unhappy, give it a shot, but in the end do what you gotta do.