The Anti-Leadership

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines micromanagement as "manage[ment] especially with excessive control or attention on details". Wikipedia adds: The notion of micromanagement can be extended to any social context where one person takes a bully approach, in the level of control and influence over the members of a group. Often, this excessive obsession with the most minute of details causes a direct management failure in the ability to focus on the major details.

The micromanager is the manager who must personally make every decision, take a lead role in the performance of every significant task and, in extreme cases, dictate every small step the workers take. To many employees the micromanager is, in modern parlance, a control freak. The micromanager hovers over people who are trying to get their work done and rarely, if ever, seriously considers their ideas and opinions. The only "original" thinking the micromanager recognizes is his or her own.

Most micromanagers don't think of themselves as micromanagers. Rather, they usually believe they're practicing good management while taking essential management practices to extremes. This interferes with employees' ability to do their jobs properly while creating undue stress for them.

A need for control that stems from insecurity is often the reason behind this behavior. A lack of confidence, workplace instability and pressure to produce–both individually and as a team. Deep-seated psychological issues and problems at home can also influence the way people behave at work. Many of us have the propensity to be a micromanger, but some of us rein it in better than others.

Important Points

• As annoying as micromanagers are, they’re incredibly predictable. The same patterns will show up during certain situations, times of the day or week, when they get especially agitated.
• The micromanager is almost always under pressure to produce. 
• Often hands out only the easy, boring or dirty tasks while delegating nothing of interest or importance.
• Often micromanagers are oblivious to the effect they are having on other people. They actually think all their micromanaging is producing a better work product.

How Micromanagement is Anti-Leadership

This pattern of micromanagement suggests to employees that a manager/or colleague does not trust their work or judgment, it is a major factor in triggering employee disengagement. 
Disengaged employees invest time, but not effort or creativity, in the work. 

"People leave managers not the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue," - Gallop Poll Survey

The poll also determined that poorly managed work groups are on average 50 percent less productive and 44 percent less profitable than well-managed groups.
The micromanager delegates nothing of consequence, thus depriving employees of opportunity for growth. The micromanagement style creates "yes men" or "yes women," as employees discover it's easiest and safest to go along with the manager. 

Therefore it can be concluded that micromanagement is part of the main ingredients of an Anti-leader. It is mismanagement, and under it, the manager, the employees and the business all suffer.


sarah V said...

Hi Gabe, Sarah from Skyfall Blue here— Great post! I sometimes catch myself doing this and what it always seems to boil down to is a lack of proper training/support! If organizations, big or small, did their part as far as training and support goes, there would be a lot less micromanaging going on.