Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Micromanagement (Part Two): Neutralizing the Micromanager-The One You Work for, or the One Inside You

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Micromanagement (Part Two): Neutralizing the Micromanager-The One You Work for, or the One Inside You

Article excerpt

No matter how outstanding the organization, resources or team, a manager's style can make or break its success. As discussed in "Micromanagement (Part One)" (, a micromanager can inadvertently breed lack of engagement, low morale and poor productivity for both staff and the organization.

If employees feel that they are not trusted to do the job they were hired for or that their experience and knowledge are constantly being dismissed and or trumped by their manager's actions, eventually those employees will stop taking initiative or making decisions. The most organized, deadline-driven employee will suddenly seem to procrastinate--after all, what's the point of completing a project or task in a timely manner when history indicates the micromanaging boss will take it over or assert a different direction before the employee is done anyway? Or worse, the boss will discard a completed work and redo the whole thing him- or herself.

If the descriptions above seem all too familiar, you may be one of the frustrated and disengaged, wondering why you keep coming back each day. Oh, wait ... right--you love this job. You don't want to leave; you just wish you could get your boss to change his or her destructive ways.

Managing Up

Authentic change in your micromanaging boss may or may not be possible, but there are steps you can take to minimize the impact and block the bad behaviors before they happen. Broadly, these steps could be characterized as managing up, which, even if you don't have a micromanaging boss, are great techniques to make the most of your boss's interactions with you and make you a more valuable asset to him or her.

Step 1: Look in the Mirror

"Are you doing anything that could give your manager cause for concern?" asks Martin Webster, a leadership consultant and owner of You may feel micromanaged because your boss reviews every one of your press releases before they go out, but if you've made more than a couple of mistakes in the past (or perhaps just one big one), he or she has not only a right, but also an obligation to ensure the information is correct. The question is: What are you doing to regain your boss's trust?

Rachel Radwinsky of Transformation Associates asks, "Is it because you just don't like being managed?" or feel you are "above" being managed? Independent personality types, people who have never had to manage others or people who have been in higher positions than their current one could easily fall into that trap. The reality, however, is that everyone in the organization has someone he or she is accountable to, even a CEO. It may not be micromanagement that's bothering you, just management.

If your self-reflection is blemish-free, the rest of these steps will provide tools to defuse the classic micromanager.

Step 2: Do Your Job Well

Meeting deadlines and producing quality work are the strongest antidotes to micromanagement. Building your boss's trust and confidence that you can be counted on is paramount to loosening the leash. Demonstrate consistently that there is nothing there to pick at, and the nitpicking will stop.

Step 3: Look for Patterns

Being a student of human behavior will help you at least recognize, if not predict, a micromanaging moment. It's probably not everything, just certain things that push your boss's buttons and incite the interference. …

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