Preventing Micromanagement

A Critical Doer understands following 

Micromanagement…doesn’t that word give you the same sensation as hearing fingernails dragging down a chalkboard?  It should, because micromanagement significantly limits both organizational and individual capacity for action.  I’ve been micromanaged twice in my professional life and each time I’ve written it off as a character flaw on the part of my boss.  As I’ve grown and matured, I’ve come to realize that each time it was actually my fault.

Yep, that’s right…my fault.  Simply, I was not being an effective follower.   Have you ever considered there are things we can do to induce micromanagement?  Let’s think about it for a second by moving past the “easy button” of character and look at micromanagement through the lens of time.  Every boss, regardless of industry, has more to do than can be done in a day.  Every boss has a fixed amount of time.  Every boss has certain things they need from us in order to feel we have something under control so they can devote attention elsewhere.  When they don’t get what they need from us, they devote more attention…more than is healthy…to satisfy that need.

In your relationship with your boss, here are some practical steps you can take to ensure your boss gets what they need to feel you have things under control and in the process give you the freedom to innovate and achieve at a higher level.

  1. Ensure you are meeting intent. Contrary to popular opinion, most bosses aren’t as concerned about how you’re getting something done as they are whether the activity will meet a certain intent.  Whenever you want to go in a different direction from your boss, ensure you are communicating how your way (1) still meets intent and (2) provides greater benefit to the organization.
  2. Provide progress updates. It is not an unreasonable assumption on the part of your boss that if nothing is heard, nothing is being accomplished.  If you’ve been given latitude to work a certain project, reward that confidence with regular updates that show progress, identify areas where you need the boss’ help, and affords an opportunity to assess problems and opportunities from changes in expected completion date.
  3. Don’t exceed authority without communication. Your job is vertical expertise, your boss’ job is to look laterally and provide breadth.  If you exceed your authority without coordination, you may accomplish your task easier but it could cause negative impact in other areas that create organizational setbacks.  When you need to exceed your authority, don’t surprise your boss…have an adult conversation and deal with it accordingly.

Your challenge is to drill down on your relationships at home and work to see if you are holding up your end of the bargain when it comes to followership.  In order to spread your wings as a leader, the first step is honoring your obligation as a follower.  It’s what a Critical Doer would…do!


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Updated: January 7, 2016 — 12:34 am