Yep. You heard it right here. This executive and business coach is admitting that he was a ‘micro-manager’. Well nearly, I guess, according to some parts of the descriptions I’ve researched. But before you pass judgment, I did say was, and it was a long time ago while I was being groomed for a promotion into a senior management position.
Let me explain how I contracted my ‘disease’ and then how I ‘recovered’ from it. I was infected (and affected) by a former boss, who was a micro-manager. Granted, he was under a lot of pressure to perform successfully, because he was given charge of an expansion project in the southeast which would grow the entire corporation by 30% in the areas of revenues, profits and staff. So he did what he believed a former military leader should do – he took command of his troops. Now, I’m not saying that all military leaders are micro-managers, but like the rest of the world, some are. We were a fairly young bunch, too. At 31, I was one of the oldest employees, and many of the younger folks had recently finished college.
Let’s talk about micro-managers. Micro-managers use their authority and raw power, and flex their muscles for their own self-interest. They control and manipulate the time of others. They don’t trust people to correctly assess their workloads and they guard their own time like precious gold. When they enter a room or join a discussion, they exhibit a sense that they be must listened to.
Micro-managers require excessive approvals, and become huge bottlenecks within their organizations. And they are in constant ‘monitoring’ mode, demanding all too frequent and largely unnecessary reporting. This last one really fit me, probably because it was my first leadership role and I was practicing what I had experienced and learned. I also wanted to succeed and wasn’t quite sure how to do that. I didn’t hover around as well as my boss did though, because I had the additional responsibility of a sales quota. But one of the worst characteristics of all is that micro-managers rarely share rewards and recognition.
So how did I ‘recover’? It was simple. I got some un-requested, specific and rather blunt feedback from a peer. She pointed out that the inane sales reports I asked for were cumbersome, took sales people too long to fill out, and didn’t provide any really valuable information, but seemed only to be a justification process for my salary.
Whew! Was that a smack in the face! She continued by revealing that every minute sales people aren’t selling is time-wasting and would seriously hinder further company growth.
Well, I was mad as hell and pretty ticked off, but when I looked at myself in the mirror that night, it was clear as a mountain lake . . . she was right! I was either blind or severely myopic to the fact that I was micro-managing and creating a huge, wasteful bottleneck.
Seeing this wisdom, I took action the next day and made some significant and permanent changes to fix my ‘management mojo’. In fact, I should have written the book, “My Way or the Highway: The “Micromanagement Survival Guide”, but I didn’t – Harry E. Chambers did. And it’s a great business resource for managers, business owners, and especially those considering developing their careers as leaders.
And if you’re ready to take action and ‘recover’ from being a micro-manager or being a boss with any kind of ‘toxicity’, feel free to contact Coach Brian.