Has COVID-19 made your micromanager worse?




The stress for managers who suddenly have employees working from home or socially distancing can exacerbate their existing tendencies.  If your manager tends towards micromanagement, then don’t be surprised if they have become worst.

In the past couple of weeks, two separate organisations have asked how to cope better with a manager who is micromanaging even worse than usual.  These were both large publicly listed companies with earnings in the multiple millions.  Companies where you would expect managers to be of a high calibre.

Micromanaging is damaging to everyone.

We know from research that micromanagement typically results in low employee morale, declining productivity, a crushing of innovation and high staff turnover.

Poor managers are cited among the top three reasons employees resign.  However, not only does micromanagement damage employees and organisational outcomes … it also damages the micromanager.

Many managers are unaware that its how others view them.

Micromanagers typically see their behaviour in a totally different light.  They have reasons for what they do.  Reasons they may never have thought clearly about or might struggle to discuss or even express.

The 7 drivers of micromanagement

There are seven viewpoints which can trigger micromanagement.

It’s my job…

  1. To maintain the status quo
    – to obey authority, to follow systems and processes (and make sure everyone else does too)
  2. To be seen and act as the authority figure
    – to represent the organisation; especially when in front of management/clients etc
  3. To be in control of my staff
    – to maintain order
    – make sure they follow processes according to dictates
  4. To implement my instructions from MY Manager
    – This may include the belief that it isn’t their place to question directions
    – To get the outcomes; meet the numbers
  5. To prevent errors
    – So I have to closely watch what you do
  6. To stay informed
    – to know what my people are doing; and when
    – to be able to answer questions from upper management at any moment
    – to have my ‘finger on the pulse’
  7. To have all the answers
    – to be more knowledgeable
    – to be more experienced
    – to have the ideas

What to do if you are being micromanaged?

Step one: See if you can find out what is driving their behaviour?  If you understand the reason behind their actions, then it is easier to cope.

Step two: Work to relieve the distress their viewpoint is causing them.  Build trust by demonstrating that you will respect their perspective (Best if you don’t name it).  The trust this engenders is likely to result in your micromanager easing off on you

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