Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Overcoming Micromanagement, part 2 (A Work-Related Post)

Welcome to the second part of my week-long series. Yesterday we looked at "what is micromanagement and why do people micromanage?" You can find that here.

Why do we experience micromanagement?

Sometimes, there may be more "reasonable" reasons why a supervisor acts in a way that manifests itself in the act of micromanagement. (We don't like the way they're acting, but we can see how they got there.)

We may be lacking context: 

  • The report or specific methodology may be to account for a past failure (the report assures we don't miss a step - because we missed a step once and people died) 
  • It may be required by someone else (it's what my boss wants from my department, it's required for this particular grant or by this obscure federal law)
  • It's taken us forty years to come up with this way of doing it. Others (including myself) have tried to improve upon it and failed.

Your reputation is not yet proven:

  • I don't yet know what you are capable of, but I know you won't fail if you do it exactly as detailed here.
  • The guy who came before you said the same things, convinced us to do it differently and a bunch of people died. You're too much of a maverick and I need someone who can follow directions.
  • If you do it "wrong," you'll make me look bad. I'm not willing to take that risk.

Ultimately, if you are being micromanaged, you are not being led and a lack of trust exists - you do not yet have the influence necessary to "break out of the mold."

Look for phrases like "we must (do this)" or "I feel (that)" or "we've always" or "it seems like" - phrases that speak to opinion or phrases that are too inclusive - the supervisor isn't willing to own it directly. This may be a desire to avoid responsibility or they may lack trust in themselves.

So... can we overcome micromanagement? Let's look into that tomorrow.

Overcoming Micromanagement
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