Words By Jimmy Earley, 8/31/2014.
This is the first part in a four part series which will cover Micro Managers. I am writing for the transitioning military person who is either moving from position to position within the civilian workforce or just departing military service looking for a job. However, this information is relevant for individuals in the corporate world as well.
Micro Manager, just the title stirs bad feelings, anxious moments, and regretful memories. Each of us has goals and dreams, desires born of many experiences. Some people simply desire to perform tasks while others desire to support their families, and yet others desire to leave their mark. Our quest is to achieve these goals and dreams by not to let others get in the way. The problem is people, with all our inherent flaws because they do stand in the way and for this conversation THEY are Micro Managers. So, how to achieve your goals when there are those who have no desire to allow success.
Just what is a Micro Manager? What drives them to be this way? How did they become a Micro Manager? The answers are as many and varied as individuals affected by these managers. Each person has their own ideas concerning what makes a micro manager. The reality is these ideas are not very different from person to person. Each of us begins at the bottom, whether this is the proverbial mail room or flipping burgers at the local fast food chain. We all have a beginning, so too did the micromanager.
This is partly different than hiring to fill a position but with the same opportunity for the person to be a micro manager. Companies look to stellar and solid performers as a means to distribute talent among their employees. Posting positions and hiring personnel become the means to bring new talent into a company once management needs fresh ideas to solve problems. When a company recognizes talent they desire to retain, individuals move to higher positions and as employees move to higher positions corporate pressure becomes a demand on them to produce. This production comes not from the normal product, rather from the corporate belief they will instill their traits into others. There is a fallacy in this thought process and an inherent belief of the manager doing what is right.Several ideas exist concerning why a person is a Micro Manager but who are they really? Was this a person ridiculed as they climbed the job ladder? Did they have a bad experience which now makes them ultra-conscious not to have that experience again? Let’s explore one avenue to higher and higher positions, promotion.
People are skeptical by nature. When offered a deal such as buying a car, you see TV ads for a product, or a friend asks you to do something for them, what is your normal reply or thought? What’s the catch, I am certain crosses your mind. The newly minted manager/leader has a similar thought process. Here they have a new job and new responsibilities. These responsibilities could be completely foreign to them, meaning they are a fish out of water an excellent line worker but completely lost as a manager.
So think about this. You have a specific shirt you wear fishing, or to the lake, or to the golf course, or to the concert, what is your first thought when that piece of clothing cannot be found? You may have a favorite outside activity you do every Saturday, what do you do when it rains? Do you feel comfortable? Or resentful, desiring to be outside doing the activity instead?
You are outside your comfort zone. We are creatures of habit so naturally desire to be comfortable and secure in the interactions of work and life with the things we know. The newly minted manager/leader is no different. This person may simply be insecure in their new role so revert to controlling every aspect of the process because that is where they are COMFORTABLE, which is what they know or rather their comfort zone.