Do you remember being hounded by your mother or father to pick up your toys or do some menial task? Do you remember how it made you feel? That if you didn't do it right away, they would act like the world would end? Fast forward to today. Are you feeling triggered by a micromanaging boss? Someone who pings you every day asking for some unimportant administrative detail?
Let's look at why this happens, from both perspectives. Managers become micromanaging the same way parents do: because they want certainty in their lives. Micromanaging parents are insecure that their children won't know how to get out of trouble on their own. They cower over them thinking that they will protect them when what they are really doing is robbing them of their ability to make their own mistakes, and their own decisions.
Micromanaging managers are insecure that they will be judged if they do not reach a target. They are insecure because deep inside, they do not feel capable of making it happen. So they try to find that certainty by controlling others instead of learning to find that certainty, or leadership, in themselves. Think about this real closely. Isn't it really true?
People who are micromanaged by their parents as children often have a severe aversion to micromanaging bosses as an adult, because they may resent their parents for not allowing them to express themselves in the way they wanted to, so when they come across a manager who controls them, they will rebel.
Parents who help children without their request are training children not to think for themselves. They are training children not to trust themselves. Imagine what kind of person they will grow up to be if they do not trust themselves... would they be able to handle a toxic boss? Will they be able to trust their team? Will they be able to build fulfilling relationships?
Micromanaging often has nothing to do with you and your capabilities, and everything to do with the manager's fears and insecurities. So many people micromanage because they’re insecure about themselves and they project that insecurity on to the people that work for them. It satisfies their need for certainty, and we simply have to see it that way and nothing more.
Micromanaging does not help anyone, yet so many people do it. Constantly checking up on people robs them of their ability to make their own decisions be autonomous and to take responsibility for their actions.
How can we stop micromanaging? Here is the remedy:
1) The micromanaging boss needs to get coaching on understanding what motivates them and how their need for certainty and perhaps significance drives micromanaging behavior and to learn how to get certainty within themselves. They need to understand that following needs of certainty and significance is a recipe for unhappiness because we never really have certainty in our lives.
2) The employee needs to help the manager by finding more ways to make him feel secure and his work. Let him know that everything is under control and show him that consistently you were able to meet his needs & get results. After you show this consistency he should be comfortable enough to leave you alone.
3) The work environment needs to promote collaboration, transparency, and trust. Corporate culture is the soil where the seeds grow. If you want good and healthy plants, you need to have a nutritious soil. When the work environment promotes that trust and collaboration, other managers can first experience what it feels like to be trusted by someone, and then they can relax into trusting themselves and others.
Now that we know that micro-managing is caused by a need to feel certain or significant, how can we use this knowledge to better understand our bosses & the current work environment? How can we use this knowledge to help ourselves and others create a better workplace?
Leave a comment below & let us know what you think!
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