Have you ever worked for a boss who had to watch your every move? Someone who
scheduled countless meetings which involved dozens (or more) people? A "manager" who
always seemed to want to do your job for you, or, worse, who always knew what was
wrong and didn't hesitate to let you know? What about the manager who has to approve
every dollar you spend, even small things like staplers?
These are micro managers, and they are one of the worst things that can happen to an
organization. A micro manager can start with an excellent team of incredible producers
and change them into a useless group of disorganized, unmotivated, complainers.
I've worked for micro managers before and it's always been a miserable experience.
One was a man named Gary. This "manager" was the owner of the company, and seemed to
always be hovering over my shoulder, demanding to know what I was doing and making
"suggestions", giving orders and sometimes just jumping in and doing the work himself.
Working for Gary was one of the most miserable experiences of my career, especially
because his micro managing tendencies got worse as time went on. He would show up at
client meetings totally unprepared, make comments at meetings that had nothing to do
with anything, and had to approve every penny of expenditure.
Worse yet, when something went wrong it was funny how no one was responsible, lest
of all him. He would just jump in and "fix it" (usually making it worse) and have
this air about himself silently saying "I knew I couldn't trust you guys".
His "know it all" attitude cost us at least one major client and several contracts.
Those of us who worked for him (and it was clear that we worked for him) were afraid
to make any mistake lest it be driven into the ground, and dreaded the days when he
decided he "had to take a look at what we were doing" to "be sure we were doing it right".
Sigh. Finally I wised up and moved elsewhere. I learned that trying to work with a
micro manager is a futile waste of time - there is no such thing as "working with
them" and they do not even understand the concept.
So what are the signs of a micro manager?
Constantly checking up on your team members - The micro manager has a need to be
behind everyone's back at all times. He or she wants to know what their team mates
are doing at all times, and will correct even the smallest thing without hesitation.
Micro managers tend to hover around their team members, making sure that everything
is "done right".
A good manager hires and trains people such that they are intelligent and motivated
enough to get their jobs done. There is virtually never a need to treat people like
robots - treat them like intelligent human beings.