Tips to Manage and Coach a “Micro-Manager”
Have you ever had one of those managers that need to see every little step, make sure you are doing the task “their way”?
Frustrating isn’t it?
This is worse for the organization as why have both of you employed if you are both in effect doing the same job. Micromanagement is usually used in a negative connotation and definitely points towards excessive control or close attention to finer details. A micromanager is created when a person is promoted to the managerial level when he/she is either not ready for the promotion or is interested to rather ‘do the job’ than ‘manage’. They believe in monitoring each and every part of the business process rather than offering general instructions. They prefer to sabotage delegation of decisions which proves to be a negative aspect for the subordinates, manager and the organization.
However, if you are stuck with a micromanager, there is no way out other than coping with this irritating behavior. But, if you are able to handle this person wisely, then there is no doubt that you can comfortably work without being interrupted at your work at all times. It is important that you handle your micro-manager tactfully otherwise it will be difficult for you to showcase your talent and hard work. There are no hard and fast rules for dealing with your micro-manager but the below tips (in no particular order) will help you to handle micromanagement in the right way.
Top Tips for dealing with micro managers
- Reward good behavior – If and all they let you to be yourself and trust your decisions, then thank them for allowing you to take the lead
- Ask for input – Micromanagers always feel to be shown their importance and hence it is important that you ask for input at all times. Make sure that you ask for their opinion and suggestions on all matters so that they do not feel that they are left out. Give them your opinion too on the matter and let them still feel ownership of the project which is important for a healthy co-existence
- Plan & keep track of all your work so that you can give an update to your micromanager at any point of time
- In the event of things getting out of hand, a one-on-one conversation will do both of you good
- Decide which battles you have to fight – A micromanager is quite an irritating person and thus he may pick battles on every issue. You need to be calm on this aspect and never even try to match him. But, it is important that you pick your own battles which you feel are important to you
- Be defensive on deadlines – A micromanager is quite confused in his own approach and he loves to impose and also twists the deadlines. When offered a task, study its intricacies carefully and offer a convenient timeline before the micromanager can interrupt the same. Also, indicate that if he wants to offer little time, then it might heavily show on the quality of the work
- If you feel that the situation is starting to get out of control, then take the help of your HR and discuss the situation with them
- Unravel your micro-manager’s agenda – It is important to understand your micromanager’s agenda. This will help you to follow him in the right path and the important thing is to be in the same path as your micromanager. If you try to pull yourself in a different path, the rate of friction will definitely affect your relationship and will also prove as a major barrier in your work
- Initiate to offer information to your micro-manager – A micro-manager cannot wait for the information to be offered to him. Don’t keep him waiting and provide information to him ahead of time. Be confident and comfortable and approach him so that you are not let down.
- Communicate effectively – It is important that you practice the art of effective communication. The micromanager is always scared about inertia and the perfect way to deal with such a person is to always communicate ahead of time. You need to make this person realize that you are working by prioritizing your work and thus while communicating with your micromanager keep in mind to effectively make use of awareness, reassurance and time-lines
- Make sure that you keep clear-cut expectations –Micromanagers have the tendency to change their expectations and convert them to high-level targets. Make sure that you clarify your conversations at every point of time and that the trail of e-mails should be in accordance with your conversations
- Renegotiate priorities – The micromanager is quite smart to pile on changing priorities on your shoulders. You should adopt a straight-forward and simple approach such as a numerical or color-coded system so that the ever-shifting priorities could be renegotiated.
- Play by the rules – It is not very easy to deal with your micromanager and thus avoid being his easy target and make sure that you always follow the rules such as policies on time and technology as maintained by your organization
- Learn from the ‘best practices’ of others – Learning is a part of coping in your career line and watching your micromanager will help you to learn the secrets of success
- Listen carefully – A micromanager needs to be felt at all times that he is being listened to carefully. Also, listening carefully will allow you to remove any room for misunderstandings. Whatever instructions you receive, make sure that you repeat it back in a concise manner so that all misunderstandings are removed in this fashion
- Offer feedback – If you feel your micromanager is open to listening and discussing, and then you can offer your feedback by pointing to specific examples so that he understands what you are pointing at
- Turn it to them – Offering feedback is not the only solution. You need to make them comfortable and ask them how you can do things better and also communicate to them in a better fashion. Asking them for their opinion will help you to be on the right path and will allow you to carry on with your work in a faster manner
- Learn their tendencies – There are certain things which may easily bother them and if you see a pattern in this, you can avoid creating such situations and offer advance information, input or can ask for feedback prior to starting with the work which will help them also to admire your way of work
- Try to stay emotionally neutral in all the discussions with your micromanager
- Ask permission from your micromanager to be frank as most of these managers are not mature enough to have direct conversation
- Aim at one behavior at a time and do not bring up all the problems at a single conversation
You are not alone
Look around for the micromanager’s behavior and you will be relieved to find that you are not the only victim which actually offers you some consolation as your micromanager might be picking at you at all times.
Do not consider the answer of this solution as an attempt to fix your micromanager.
Micromanagement is a very difficult situation at any workplace and it can even lead to reduction in employee engagement, production and a disinterest towards your profession. It is important that this aspect is handled in an extremely delicate manner so that you can continue to have cordial relationship with your micromanager.
Another Reason to Hate Micromanagers
Since publishing this piece I have come across an interesting piece of research on the performance issues about being micromanaged. In a recent bnet.com article they referr to some research that took place in cassinos, looking at the impact of mictomanagement on performance. The three professors from Harvard Business School and Rice University analyzed data from six MGM-Mirage Group hotel/casino properties. the findings back what most of us have believed for a long time:
- Workers perform just fine when managers don’t keep close tabs on them.
- Workers are more likely to be fearful of experimenting when their managers micromanage; as a result, the employees learn less and performance suffers.
“Employees in tightly monitored business units face strong implicit incentives to experiment less…and have fewer opportunities to learn,” write Dennis Campbell, of Harvard Business School, Marc Epstein, of Rice University, and Asis Martinez-Jerez, also of Harvard.
Readd the origional report from Harvard