In my previous blog, I talked about micromanagement and the reasons managers and supervisors fall into its trap. Micromanagement is a situation where there is overcontrol of work and processes, usually from a person of authority. Micromanagement is a legitimate issue, for it disrupts work and leads to anxiety and stress to people suffering dealing with it.
Let us identify signs of a micromanager and how we can proactively deal with them.
Everything must pass through them
A common issue with micromanagers is that everything, big or small, must get their approval first before it gets done. They can't stand the thought of having others take charge and they want to have full control of the project, even in the pettiest of areas. They look at their decisions like a hinge, and that the whole organization will not turn without their approval.
They must always be in the loop
They want in in every conversation, they have to know what's going on with their people. They can't stand being clueless when people are talking about other things, even if it doesn't concern the job. They feel like they have to know what's happening at all times, afraid of being left out of conversations. Even when one is engaging with phone calls, they even ask who is on the line just for the sake of knowing.
They love to make suggestions, and sometimes more than that
They can't resist the urge to edit one's work, correct one's pronunciation, or change one's design whenever they have the chance. Their suggestions are the loudest you can hear in the room. They think they always have something to say and their thoughts matter. They love giving out unsolicited opinions.
They stress over little things
Micromanagers want to know the tiniest of details, they are not satisfied just seeing the surface, they want every strand of information they can get. While this may be helpful with a lot of things, especially in making crucial decisions, but a micromanager goes overboard wanting to know absurd details like social security numbers, or people's favorite colors even if it is no longer relevant.
If you know someone with these tendencies, might as well you're dealing with a micromanager. Or maybe you have these qualities in you and you're bordering on being a micromanager yourself. Take note that some micromanagement springs up from a desire to do good for the organization, and not to harm anyone. The only problem lies when that desire keeps others in giving out their best because of irritation, aggression, or anxiety brought about by the micromanager.
So how do we deal with a micromanager in our midst?
The best way to deal with them is to talk to them directly, with tact but also with respect. Remember that they are dealing with you from an authority's perspective, even if their means get you anxious at times. So respect the authority, but reach out to the person.
Let the person know how you are feeling. If you can't talk to the concerned person face to face, maximize staff evaluation meetings and reviews. Bring up your concern in a friendly, respectful way.
Escalating the concern to HR or some higher-ups might be of help. Take note that we are not attacking the person, but the attitude, and we want to deal with it.
Another thing we can do is to learn to adjust to the micromanager's demands. Try to work around the usual requests, especially if such requests are part of the job and contribute to the betterment of the whole project. Rather than waiting for the micromanager to follow up on you, surprise him with regular updates. It might minimize that person's fear and perfectionism and will help you build a routine that addresses your anxiety with micromanagement.
Lastly, when micromanagement saps the best out of you and you feel like getting worse every day, perhaps there's no other thing to do but take up your bags and leave. Your mental health is worth saving for.