Micro-managers suck

There’s no way to state this delicately. Micro-managers suck. It’s one of the many drawbacks to people in positions of authority. It completely undermines any attempt at successful leadership.

Micro-managers create a stifling work environment. What’s the primary characteristic of a micro-manager? She wants to be in control of everything – down to how many paperclips were used last month by the organization and how many times someone went to the restroom and why.

This appetite for control puts colleagues in a pinch because they are frequently spending valuable time developing plans or strategies as well as compiling monthly progress reports. I wouldn’t ever argue that outcomes assessment is not necessary and a structure to guide someone in their path to achieving a task has its merit. The question is, to what degree? Micro-managers shackle their employees and colleagues with strategies and reports to the extent that it’s completely counterproductive because it wastes valuable time. And why do micro-managers request all of these plans and reports? Because they don’t know everything about everything, BUT they want you and everyone else on the team to THINK that they know everything about everything. And if they don’t, at least, have all pertinent information at their fingertips, they feel powerless.

Micro managing creates a negative environment as well for a couple of reasons. One, it proves that the boss has an insatiable need for control. Second, it demonstrates that the boss doesn’t trust the people on staff to perform the tasks at hand with the talent and skill that they brought to the position. Third, it shows a lack of recognition that most humans think and work differently than the person in the cubicle next to her. If you want a bunch of clones working for you, how do you expect to come up with creative solutions to the challenges your company faces?

Finally, the negative environment is punctuated by the regular “beat down.” By exercising this maniacal control, the micro-manager holds his employees strictly to the plans that have been developed. If the task is not carried out or accomplished in the precise manner it was recorded in “the plan,” you can count on being chastised for not completed your assigned tasks.

One of the things that I discovered from the successful female leaders featured in Final Four Leadership is that they hire good people and they trust those people to perform at a high level. They ask for input and feedback, and while they readily acknowledge that they might not always implement that input and feedback, it often informs their decision making process, and they want to hear that contribution on a consistent basis. They also bring people to their team who might not necessarily think and work the same as others on the team, but their core values are solid and the variety of thought makes a positive contribution to the team’s success.

Being a micro-manager is prohibitive to good leadership, and it prevents your colleagues from producing their best work.


This entry was posted on Friday, November 27th, 2009 at 11:18 am and is filed under Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.


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