Sunday, August 6, 2017

Managing The Micro-manager

Most employees have experienced micro-managers - managers who give excessive supervision to workers, due to lack of  trust in their ability to get desired results, or lack of faith in their competency. 

Being micro-managed is both frustrating and demoralizing because it thwarts autonomy, which according to self-determination theory is one of our three basic psychological needs. When we are deprived of the opportunity to be autonomous, we are in essence deprived of the opportunity to grow and show - show who we are and what we are capable of. 

So what is the best way to deal with (i.e., work as harmoniously as one can) a micro-manager? By being proactive and addressing the underlying causes of their micro-management.

The micro-manager is more concerned with their insecurities about their ability to do their job, than they are with those that they manage. If your contributions/results are needed for them to do their job, a vested interest germinates, and this forms motivation for micro-managing when coupled with lack of trust.

Trust is key because the amount of trust influences the degree to which one is micro-managed. If the micro-manager holds the belief that all of the workers that they supervise are incompetent, all will be micro-managed accordingly; however, if a select few are viewed as more competent, they will be micro-managed to a lesser degree.

In order to effectively manage the micro-manager, you should counter the intensity of their lack of trust, with a proactive stance. In other words, be as proactive with seeking information and clarity of directives, as they are with their micro-managing behaviors. This will create offsetting behaviors to improve work conditions.

Getting clarity and asking for feedback creates circular interactions with the micro-manager and puts them on alert that you are actively trying to please them and do a good job.

But don't become overly optimistic; micro-managers, micro-manage because of disposition (personality) or situations (company stress or pressure) that may not change. In this scenario the  most viable option - also the #1 reason why people leave jobs - should be obvious.