A love affair with micro-management

Aug 16 2007 by Print This Article

A new piece here on Management-Issues by David Tinker explores the reasons why micro-management is such a bad idea. Yet companies still seem to love micro-managers despite the damage they do, a dichotomy that is explored in this post by our old friend The Corporate Cynic.

According to the Cynic, in his early days in the working world being a manager meant "getting things done through people." However, he has noticed that recently the new definition is "Getting things done yourself", or even "Getting things done in spite of people."

He believes that the problem is that companies are rewarding the people with Type-A personalities - people who are "rigid, anxiety-filled, single minded, overly-demanding and fixated on the most miniscule of details."

"They are very good at performing the tasks to which they are assigned, particularly when left alone to their own resources. That is why many individuals exhibiting these characteristics are culled out of the workforce and promoted into positions that oversee the work of others. Their excellent work habits and capacity to take on more and more tasks are viewed as the perfect role models for companies to use in order to whip workgroups into shape."

The problem is that these traits do not translate to people skills – not to mention often leading to total burn-out that leaves a cynical and broken individual in its wake.

The moral of all this is that companies are rewarding people for the wrong things. They are thinking only about the short-term and not looking down the road when it comes to promoting people into management roles. In fact, it'd go as far as saying that most companies are rewarding and promoting exactly the wrong type of people into management roles.


Older Comments

I work in the kitchen of an environmental learning center. Thousands of students and teachers pass through our doors annually. We have a KP program in which many of those same students and teachers assist us in the daily serving and clean up of meals. In addition to training in a new group of ' helpers ' with each meal, my co-workers and I also assist our boss with meal prep. It should be noted that my boss has only been on the job for the past year. We are all feeling the stress of his micro-management style, and turn on a dime mood swings. He is often verbally abusive and intimidating. He makes derogitory comments in passing to let us know he is not happy about some insignificant detail. Many of us have been on the recieving end of his temper tantrums, being screamed at, and in the case of one co worker, having his office door held shut she could not escape his angry tirade. We are a staff of dedicated, hard workers, who are unsure of how to handle the situationa

katherine Minnesota