Sunday, January 23, 2011

Micro Management – Thorn on your side.

Micro Management – Thorn on your side.

“I have run a hospital since last 25 years. So please do not tell we what is right or wrong”

Have you ever heard this one time or the other in a similar context from your superiors and specially the CEO or the CMD himself?
Well if you have, and you are among those who feel that your organization which has the potential to be ‘great’ is going to the dogs because your boss is micro managing and not letting you do things the way you feel is right then read on..

‘The’ Micro Manager:
On an outside, a micromanager seems to have all positive attribute - Hardworking, comes in first, leaves last, has an attention to detail, and has hands-on attitude and much more. However all of these attributes seem to highlight certain degrees of extremes.

Such traits are seen, especially because, they cannot fathom failure and probably are pressured to win. This makes the micromanager ‘push’ everyone to achieve success, but without appropriate delegation, authority and freedom for the employee’s own creativity to achieve the work done. The micromanager wants everything done in his own style and at the risk of destroying their subordinate’s confidence, and even frustrate them to the point where people quit. This leads to a chain reaction where the micromanager has to again live with performance issues of the new recruit as the new person would take time to settle in and understand the organization’s nuances, and this further aggravates the above mentioned traits of the micromanager to a aspect of ‘Nano-Management’.

To describe in a simple way about a micro-manager –

‘He just doesn’t trust you’: He would not allow you from making decisions without consulting him first.

And to elaborate that in simple points:

‘He always finds faults in you’: He loves pondering over minute details instead of looking at the BIG picture. Frequent change of formats of letters, too frequent MIS’s and reporting to him from every level is a norm. He becomes a reason for bottleneck rather than the solution for the problem as he is too bogged down in every micro detail of the functioning of the organization.

‘The processes he defines as –efficient- is usually a series of complicated tasks’

‘He seems to trust the ‘wrong’ people’: He seems to trust those who do not know the job well. These are the ones who unfortunately ‘nod’ to the boss’s vague ideas, are probably too afraid to say ‘no’ to him, and probably are his relatives and friends.

‘They have unreasonably high expectations’: which may not match to the resources provided and authority and empowerment given.

‘He does not seem to listen: You cannot seem to ‘talk’ to him to put your point across. Micromanagers usually do not like criticism and they do not find wrong in anything they do. You would have many ‘simpler’ solutions but many times cannot take the point across to him as he just is not a good listener of ‘other’ people’s ideas.

So is changing your boss the only solution? Probably one of the solutions, but it's unlikely to succeed, especially if he is your CMD or the owner or promoter.

But what can be done is to change the way you ‘manage’ your micromanager.

Few steps as mentioned below can bridge the gap between you and your micro managing boss.

Analyze the scenario: Try and understand your Boss’s concern areas which are troubling him. Chalk out an action plan to counter those problem areas one by one ‘proactively’

Communicate: Though such micromanagers do not like you to ‘reach’ out to them by way of an ‘open door policy’ and you are expected to follow his ‘instructions’, you can still try to put across to your boss - your action points on the areas as discussed above by way of emails, notes or presentations. Make sure regular mails reach him directly. Provide him the details of the project you are working on before he asks you to provide one. Be ready with various solutions which he can choose from and ask him for further ‘guidance’.

My perspective:

I feel that every organization has ‘problems’. People say that an employee never leaves an organization but his boss. This is true many times but not always. I feel that you would find problems wherever you go and there is no running away from the same. One should try and rise above the problem and shine even in a crowd. Everyone wants an ‘easy’ life, but if only wishes could always come true.

However even after you have given yourself time, and have attempted everything in your best capability, and still cant cut the ice with your boss, then it is better you move jobs. It will be soon that such a micro managing boss lead organization will see failure rather than success or would already be undergoing such a problem which must be driving this micromanager crazy. The quick solution to all this: The micromanaging bosses just need to let go.

Note for the BOSS’s (specially the micromanaging types)

I was reading ‘if Disney ran your hospital…’ and was very impressed with certain aspects which a leader could use to ensure a jubilant workplace, great productivity and patient satisfaction’

The correlation is to the fact how every time the shows at Disney are so vibrant and liked by audiences. The shows after all are executed by the employees, and workforce behind the scenes - who ensure to bring such shows to life every time.

The backstage at the Disney shows are very similar to any hospital operations where you need to be delivering ‘right’ every time’ in a coordinated effort by the spot biys, crew, cast, production team and many more. But all this would not be possible without ‘happy cast members and crew at Disney. So how does Disney keep so many people happy?

The answer:

Disney ensures that ‘learned’ leaders lead the workforce.

The leaders ‘treat’ their staff ‘well’ and give them opportunities to do the right thing.

Disney believes in treating their staff the way they would want their patients or customers to be treated ‘well and with respect’. They ensure that their staff is ‘happy’. Happy employees translate into happy customers.

Bottom line: Employees should be heard; their ideas reviewed with respect, and should be given a chance to make their own decisions.

Last words:

I feel if one is hired to do a job then there should be enough time and opportunity given to let the person deliver. A descriptive job description, and authorities and goals and time bound objectives from the management is necessary to ensure that the employee understand what is expected of him and when he needs to deliver. Many times a vague mission & vision statement with no clarity is the culprit. However matching resources and authorities are essential to achieve a given objective and the management needs to keep its mind open and listen to the employees to understand where the problems are and what best possible method could be used to achieve the desired result. An open door policy always helps and the leaders need to be seen to trust this all important work force and let the ‘team’ take credit and the leader solely take the responsibility for any failure.


  1. Sir.... nicely put daily common problem...

  2. I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post too.

  3. Dr Madhab ChakrabortyJuly 20, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    fantastic thought process.... A practical point out.... All manager including who are not "micro manager - kind should read this article..