01.14 - How Micro-Managers Depower Human Systems

What Motivates Micro-Managers?

They usually tell you it's because they are thorough or have high standards.  The truth is simpler -- they have a high need for control out of a sense of fear or a need for recognition. 

Micro-managers tend to believe that they are the only ones who can get things "right" which can show up for others as arrogance, ignorance or black and white rigid thinking. 

The picture of the marionettes' life-less-ness captures the impact that micro-managers can have on human systems. 


The Big 4 Empowering Practices

1.  Establish Dependable Communication Vehicles with your people.  (This includes consistent, accurate and timely vehicles that are not postponed or cancelled.)

2.  Create Transparency by including everyone in open and direct communications.

3.  Prioritize Continuously.  Communicate those priorities.   Consistently communicate goals, objectives and success indicators.  Hold people accountable to the success indicators and coach them when they do not meet expectations.  Don't do their jobs; create the clear standards by which they can do their jobs well.

And as Kathy Claytor says,

4.  Teach!

One regional Human Resources expert understands empowerment. Kathy Claytor, SPHR, GPHR, Vice President of Corevesta, Inc. Corvesta Software Solutions, India

Kathy offers:

"Steve Jobs was a self-proclaimed and unapologetic micromanager.  It worked for him.  He built one of the world’s most successful companies.  To most of us, micromanagement is a dirty word.  It has negative connotations and is often associated as a trait of a bad or new manager.

Early in my career, I found myself micromanaging with the delusion that “no one can do the work as well as I can.”  I found myself working lots of hours with a disengaged team who left promptly when the bell rang.  My team was not happy and neither was I.  As a result, we were not producing our best work.  Feedback from those who work for you is a gift.  I got valuable feedback and modified my style. The next epiphany that influenced my management style was tthe realization that there are times when micromanaging can be an effective tool.

Micromanagement As Teaching...

Steve Jobs spent months working side by side with his iPhone Design Team. Tim Cook managed the rest of the business.  Jobs picked a critical project.  One that he was passionate about.  He was teaching as he was working side by side.  I occasionally micromanage now as a teacher.  I try to pick a project that has a critical impact.  Right now, it is hiring 26 talented IT folks to add to our growing organization.  I am sitting side by side with our team looking at resumes, showing my young managers how to evaluate these resumes and look for those unique qualities in people that will be happy and fulfilled in our organization and help us succeed.  I am teaching."

Six critical dimensions of organization effectiveness measured by the OD2:

     1.  Marketplace Responsiveness

     2.  Clear Direction

     3.  The Right Structure

     4.  Effective Work Processes

     5.  The Right Metrics

     6.  Effective People Practices