I’ve been doing a series on micro-management. No, I’m not for it. I’m against it. The first post was how an executive could help their managers avoid micro-management. The second post covered some key activities necessary to alleviate their managers felt need to micro-manage.
You must have the proper frame of mind to free your manager or a peer of the felt need to micro-manage. Remember micro-managers generally do so to protect in the presence of fear. Their intention is to control rather than to inspire. Simon Sinek, the author of Start With Why said that there are only two ways to get someone else to do something, inspire or manipulate. Micro-management is a form of manipulation, and judging from the feedback, a common one.
Managers micro-manage in the absence of the ability to inspire. Inspiration creates the inner drive for team members to do the right thing. You also must educate. Desire alone is no guarantee that the right actions will be taken. But the internal desire is preferable to the external control – and easier too!
There are at least 4 attitudes you can practice to begin to communicate to your manager that you don’t need to be micro-managed. Each is designed to communicate to your manager that you will do the right thing without the close supervision. Contrary to popular belief, whining, and talking about your manager behind your back are not in the list.
- Ownership. Have an attitude of ownership for everything and avoid blame at all costs. Accept responsibility quickly and honestly whenever you make a mistake.
- Initiative. Remember previous instruction and offer initiative and creatively take initiative based on any previous permission. One good way is to take a repeat action when you asked for something similar before. If you previously asked for permission to help another team on a project and you have some reason to believe that would be OK again, this time, tell your manager, that’s what you’re going to do. I don’t mean “I’m going to do this!” But rather “If you don’t mind, I’d like to help these guys. I have time and you let me help the others. Do you mind?” Always provide enough information for them to make an informed decision.
- Objectivity. Converting a micro-manager is a daunting task. Objectively evaluate your situation. Possibly get a peer of your manager to give you feedback after hours. Your objectivity to the feedback you get will help you decide when it’s time to go.
- Positivity. You will survive. Heck, you can always leave. But your hope and expectation that your manager can be a great boss is a key in the success. Focus on what is positive about your surroundings.
These attitudes will even help you if nothing else works. You may decide you have to leave, but if you’ve been diligent in taking the actions and demonstrating these attitudes, you will leave in a way that makes everyone regret your departure. Remember to leave on good terms because your micro-manager will get opportunities to provide input to others about their interactions with you. And no future employer or customer will know they were a micro-manager or a jerk if they say something like “I’m sure he’s easier to work with now.” Forget the possibility of revenge or getting even. You never get even. So always stay on the high road.
Are you working with a micro-manager? Are there any other attitudes you would recommend? Help conspire to equip people and we may put an end to the practice.
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