February 15, 2017

Micro-Management – Mentoring and Leadership Development

Doug Lawrence



All you have to do is take a look around you in the organization that you are in today and ask yourself if any of the following signs or symptoms are present in the leaders/managers:

  1. Resist delegating work
  2. Immerse themselves in the work assigned to others
  3. Look at the detail instead of the big picture
  4. Discourage others from making decisions
  5. Get involved in the work of others without consulting them
  6. Monitor what’s least important and expect regular reports on miscellany
  7. Push aside the experience and knowledge of colleagues
  8. Loose loyalty and commitment
  9. Focus on the wrong priorities
  10. Have a De-motivated team

This list is not an all-inclusive list by any stretch of the imagination. I can just imagine that you have already started to add some of the things that you are experiencing to this list.

The bottom line is that Micro-managers lack personal leadership. If you are unable to lead yourself – lead from within then you will be demonstrating some of the behaviors that we have listed above. A lot of Micro-managers have low self-esteem and a low level of trust. There is no one else that can do the job the way they can so they might as well do the work themselves. Fear of failure is another cause for micro-managing which can be the result of high expectations as they were growing up. Breaking through the glass ceiling for women can also create times where we resort to Micro-management as a means to move forward. We do not always see the carnage that we have or are creating while we are engaged in this personal journey.

So this can’t be that big of a deal. After all not much is being done about it. It is a big deal and you are right that not much is being done. In some countries they have become complacent and have buried their head in the sand.

“Nearly 60% of companies are facing leadership talent shortages that are impeding their performance. Another 31% expect a lack of leadership talent to impede their performance in the next several years.”

Some of the outcomes if Micro-management is not addressed are: leader burnout, high employee turnover rates, engagement, employees become complacent, employees become overly dependent on the leader/manager and have little critical thinking skills. Micro-management can also create a toxic work place, foster a lack of teamwork, morale will suffer, productivity in the organization declines and employees do not development as they just want to come to work to collect their pay cheque.

It is not a pretty picture to say the least. I have seen this scenario far too often. Can it be fixed – sure! The Micro-manager/leader is the first step. Through the mentoring process we determine what the root cause is for this type of behavior and then we work with the leader/manager to find ways to work through this. There are some Micro-managers that are a bit more work and may require more frequent interaction with their mentor. It can be done though with patience and a commitment to the mentoring process. Mentoring should be part of any leadership development program and it works well in working through Micro-management challenges.

If you know of situations of Micro-management you need to have those addressed before the symptoms that we have listed become the norm in your organization. It most definitely is not the work place I would want to see you working in. You are better than that! Embrace the “gift of mentoring” – “can you afford not to?”





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