Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It Depends

There are people in the workplace who would use mood rings as management guides if they could get away with it. The desire for a clear, mechanical, device to take the place of hard decision making is understandable and just as wrong. Consider how these bits of management wisdom need to be qualified:

Manage by wandering around. Not if you're a micromanager who lowers morale and initiative every time you wander near the employees.
Be candid and direct. Not if you destroy crucial relationships by doing so.

Be caring. Not if the other person needs "tough love."

Be decisive. Not if the decision is significant and irreversible and you haven't done basic analysis.

Focus on results. Not if doing so will produce greater problems and create an "Anything goes" mentality.

Pick the person with the most impressive credentials. No, pick the most qualified person. They're not always the same.

Seek to achieve the most. Only if "the most" means the highest priorities.

Devote most of your time to your "vision." No, most of your time should go to establishing systems and watching out for the details that can ambush progress.


Anonymous said...

Bingo! It's easy to miss the forest when a tree is in the way.

My early retirement job is as a low-level supervisor of a small handful of employees, five full-time and about that many more part-time or "PRN" depending on needs. I come to the job with thirty-five years experience and have organized and streamlined everyting I have touched over five years.

Unfortunately I work for a micromanager blind to the fact that she is a micromanager. She truly appreciates the changes I have made, but still carps about tiny details, chirping "I'm not gonna micromanage" as she suggests that I do so instead.

The nub of the challenge is job descriptions so detailed and in place for so many years that employees are reluctant to do anything outside their areas of responsibility. "That's not in my job description."

Teamwork has improved slightly, but I don't expect it to be anywhere near where it should be before I reach final retirement. Too much corporate culture in the way.

You know who I am, but because if this content I have to post anonymously.

Michael Wade said...

I'm glad you're reading the blog. A classic strategy when dealing with micromanagers is to swamp them with information. The reason why is that increases their sense of control and fear of surprise causes many of them to micromanage. I've known subordinates who have five to ten minute meetings with their boss every morning and afternoon in order to reduce micromanagement.