Micromanaging (Manager Never Learn to Manage)

I was a new hire when the Chief Operating Officer (COO) called up for an urgent meeting. There was no specific agenda but since the project is lagging behind schedule, it is a good reason to call for such an emergency meeting. Personally, I will not call it an emergency meeting as the COO himself arrived thirty (30) minutes after the call time. It was my first time to meet the COO.

The project I was involved with was awarded during the 1st quarter. Hiring of key personnel started after that. The Engineering Manager and Project Manager was the first to be hired. However, other key personnel only started to arrive 2nd quarter. Two quarters later, personnel hiring has not been completed. Worse, others who has been hired earlier started to leave the project. Follow-up to the Human Resources Department about the urgency of hiring key personnel remains futile. Nobody is arriving.

The project begun to slide back due to lack of key personnel. In addition, the COO is micromanaging the project. Based on the trail of emails, the COO wanted to be copied to every email in & out of the Document Control, regardless if it is just an Inter-discipline Review of documents and drawings. In our project alone, there are hundreds of emails in the pipeline, how can someone in his stature able to read the bulk of emails being sent to his inbox? Moreso, there are five (5) multi-billion projects undertaken simultaneously under his umbrella.

To understand better why managers micromanage is first to know the definition of micromanagement.

Micromanagement is a style of running a company that involves direct supervision, even of routine employee tasks. For the most part, micromanagement is not an effective leadership style because it does not give employees room to grow and places unnecessary burdens on managers, who must watch every move their employees make. Micromanagement is most consistent with some employers’ comfort levels, however, especially owners who do not trust their employees.
Source: Bizfluent

The keyword here is “who do not trust their employees“. If you do not trust your employees, why did you hire them in the first place. It might make sense to do micromanagement for critical task where the knowledge of the manager is vital in the success of the process. Other than those situations, micromanagement is just a waste of time for a manager.

Micromanaging may also lead to losing the trust and respect of employees. Almost every complaint about a boss references some form of micromanagement in which employees are told exactly what to do and/or how to do it. At best, this turns out to be irritating, and at worst the boss is giving bad instructions that will lead to disaster. Managers are micromanaging because they do not know how to manage, and do not know any other way of doing the tasks besides their own methodology. They miss the fact that each person has a separate combination of strengths, weaknesses, knowledge, skills, and attitudes, and that these can lead people to pursue and achieve goals differently. [Source: Medium.com].