On May 5th, 2016, a wildfire tore through Fort McMurray with a ferocity so intense the fire was nicknamed the ‘Beast.’ Hundreds of firefighters, police and heavy equipment operators fought a running battle with a formidable foe to save the City. In the end, 80,000 people were evacuated, and 2,400 structures were incinerated. A leadership responsibility that was once unimaginable was suddenly real. Responsibility without authority is one of the worst situations any leader can face, and natural disasters are the epitome of responsibility without authority.…
If your boss has ever micromanaged you, did you assume it was because they didn’t trust you, or maybe you’re just crappy at your job?
You’re not the only one who feels that way about micromanaging.
The idea that all micromanagement is bad or that being micromanaged means you’re doing a bad job is one of the biggest management myths out there.
In fact, most supervisors don’t even realize they’re doing it. They honestly believe they’re doing a good job.
To be sure, there are times when micromanaging is overdone, unnecessary, or even destructive. But not always.
To frame this conversation, we need to be clear that a boss has one primary responsibility: to meet the organization’s objectives.
While micromanagement has a bad rap, it’s sometimes a necessary part of managing people and ensuring objectives are met.
The idea that all micromanagement is bad is a myth. In this post, I’m going to share how micromanagement can be a useful tool.
When is micromanaging a good thing?
Here are two situations where micromanagement is required:
1) Implementing new projects or systems.
With familiar projects and systems, giving employees space to work is efficient and effective.
But when implementing something new, micromanagement is necessary to make sure everyone is on the same page.
New projects or systems do not have established workflows. As a manager, it’s your job to fill the gap by checking in on a consistent basis to make sure the project and systems are implemented properly and are monitored for risk and effectiveness.
Is this micromanagement?
Arguably yes—but when done well, most employees appreciate this as leadership, support, and guidance.
Implementing new systems and projects at work can be hard on everyone. Here are 9 questions to ask to help you determine your organization’s readiness for change.
2) Poor performance.
If you have people who are not performing, you had better start micromanaging.
In polite parlance, this is called performance-management but make no mistake—it is micromanagement.
Want to learn more about performance management fails and how to fix them? Click here.
Have honest conversations about why someone may not be performing, followed by close up and personal supervision to ensure they will improve.
When is micromanaging a bad thing?
Micromanaging because you are a bully, afraid, or not willing to deal honestly with performance issues is a huge mistake on the part of a manager.
But micromanaging because you and your organization’s success depends on it? Fair game.
Just be honest about why you are doing it.
If you’re interested in going deeper or moving your career to the next level, you’ll also want to have a look at my 1-on-1 coaching services.
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This article was originally published on May 17, 2018, and has been updated. How many times have you heard the terms “managing your boss” or “managing up?” I don’t know who decided this would make your life easier, and there are plenty of reasons “managing your boss” isn’t the right way to go. As someone who has been the boss, I find it quite disrespectful. Regardless of your relationship with them, there is a huge power differential tilting towards your boss. Most employees don’t realize the…