The “Micro-Manager” assigns a task and then immediately hounds people until the task is completed. This type of manager can be found continually announcing reminders and due date reminders. Micro Managing produces very undesirable results.
The result is a de-motivated subordinate who depends too heavily on the manager. Before long, the pestered person begins relying on the manager to issue the needed reminders and, if they do not occur, the work will not be done. A subordinate, moreover, can easily develop feelings of inadequacy, since the manager is providing continual evidence of mistrust.
The “Hands Off Manager”
Many managers operate in a completely opposite manner. For them, the way to regulate work is to assign a task and to virtually forget about it, believing that they are giving their employees evidence of trust. In reality, they are allowing the result to deteriorate by not maintaining control. Then, when the due date finally arrives and the project is either unfinished or done incorrectly, they often react emotionally and complain about the lack of good people.
The Hands-Off manager usually appears to be very calm and reserved, his or her operation is nothing but chaos. Employees make decisions and follow varied, often conflicting, courses of action without the slightest degree of guidance.
Maintaining a healthy balance
The ideal approach is to strike a balance between the two extremes. Maintain tight control over all the work without lapsing into micro managing.
- Map out every action that needs to happen with a “due by” date.
- Assign accountabilities to each task.
- Schedule progress meetings to review work scope progress.
- Incorporate reporting or “status reports” for you to review on a daily or weekly basis to insure all impact targets are being met.
- If you notice any task, target or project deviating from the plan, take the appropriate action to get the plan back on track.
- If you notice that everything is on track, congratulate the team’s efforts and encourage them to keep up the good work.
Managers may accept and even reward poor results. The reason for this is mainly due to the manager’s unwillingness to demand perfection. In some cases, managers simply do not know what constitutes quality work (due to the lack of a process) or, they accept explanations or excuses as to why it cannot be achieved. For the most part, however, managers are emotionally reluctant to confront employees when the work is sub-standard. The three main reasons for this are as follows.
It is difficult for most people to criticize imperfection when they perceive a large degree of it in themselves. They feel guilty. They may operate under the premise that “You should put your own house in order first.” Your “own house” will never be totally “in order,” no matter how hard you work. Getting results requires that imperfect people (which we all are) manage other imperfect people.
The underachieving employee will complain. Most of the complaints will be directed towards you, which is really their way of dealing with their own failure. After hearing about your unfairness or inadequacy, it is almost predictable that you will begin believing it, for the simple reason that no one more than you is aware of your own shortcomings. Before long, you might begin to wonder if you have not dealt your employee a grave injustice, especially if verbal torture continues. As a result, whenever an employee deserves constructive criticism or coaching, you may be reluctant to react due to miss-guided perception that their failure is your fault.
The REVERSE DELEGATION TRAP
No matter how many times the subordinate must redo the work, the constant repetition is better than you doing it for them. Many managers practice “reverse delegation” by bailing their employees out when they cant perform a task. Each time you say “Let me do it for you,” you are reinforcing a behavior that will cause them to constantly dump undone work on you. Soon “upward delegation” becomes automatic. Besides, he or she will never learn to do the work if you always do it for them. People learn by doing, not by watching.