Micromanagement

I’ve not included a reference for this topic as there’s too many good articles to choose from. But I wanted to reflect on the topic of micromanaging. Having been through numerous teams, I have observed the behaviours of micromanagement, and also seen the temptation of such behaviours. But essentially, micromanagement just causes disruption within a team and if feeling the need to work in this way, it is important to look internally at what is driving this need and clarify whether this is due to a personal area in need of development, or could it be down to not having recruited the right persons within the team.

I usually find that it’s the first issue which lead people to become micro-managers, it’s often driven by anxiety, the need to be in control, or down to having a set agenda which is not shared by the broader team. This then leads to micromanaging behaviours that can be displayed in a number of ways including aggressive tactics, not keeping the team fully informed, completing unnecessary checks and becoming inflexible within the workplace. This is where the concept of managing the manager is needed. The first step to being able to do this is obviously recognizing that you have a micromanagement issue, then being able to sit with the behaviours as being with the manager and not with you as an individual. This can assist in preventing the anxieties of the manager from transferring onto you and stifling creativity. One this is done, it’s good to look at the possible needs that the manager has and how this can be displayed as a way of managing their need to micromanage. For example, if it’s purely a power issue, then taking the concept of ‘strokes’ as they are called within Transactional Analysis. This is where you basically ‘stroke the ego’ so the manager has developed enough positive strokes in order to feel reassured and less threatened. Another way would be if an issue is taking place, just making them aware of what is happening and what the plan is, as well as the reassurance that you will give them an update later. This way you have kept the manager informed without them needing to become directly involved. These are some basic tactics which hopefully assist in resolving the issue of micromanagement, but it can be a difficult task if coming from a person that you are reportable to. If no change is noted and it’s having a negative impact on the team long-term then it’s time to look at escalation in a healthy way, starting with a (documented) discussion which is facilitated in a non-threatening or blaming way. This can often resolve things quickly, but if not, then it’s time to seek further support and guidance and ensuring that the issues are being raised for the right reasons, and not because of a simple clash of personalities.

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