|Foundations: Micromangement myths|
|By Joe Bouchard|
Foundations - Micromangement myths
by Joe Bouchard
The term “micro-manager” is common. But, is it really fully understood? The concept is not as simple as it appears. In fact, there are seven misconceptions about micro-management.
Myth One: Everyone has the same definition of micro-management.
All of the following are often mistaken for micro-management: coaching, mentoring, providing feedback, thoroughness, and follow-up. Here is a working definition I use - Micro-management is the act of unnecessarily controlling minute details and procedures. It is when staff place too much significance on what is rather insignificant (1)
Myth Two: There is never a circumstance when a micro-manager is useful.
From time to time, the talents of detail-oriented staff can be practical. Some of these circumstances are during audits, for investigations, monitoring prisoner dynamics, trouble-shooting, editing a document, and for policy audits.
Myth Three: All micro-managers are cut from the same fabric.
Not all micro-managers are driven by the same engine. Here are some different modes of micro-management:
Micro-management breeds resentment between colleagues, stunts communication, shifts the focus from achieving the department’s mission, and allows for manipulation and lapsed security. Staff division flourishes when we are ill-prepared to cope with micro-managers.
Myth Five: Only managers can be micro-managers.
You do not have to be in charge of people to feel compelled to manage microscopic details. People who are obsessed with minutiae are found in all professions, all classifications, throughout history, and all around the world.
Myth Six: All managers like to micro-manage.
Not everyone is comfortable focusing on small details. Micro-managing is not a preferred style for everyone, especially those who prefer large-scale thinking. Circumstances or the worksite culture may drive a leader to micro-manage. But that does not automatically mean the leader will enjoy the process.
Myth Seven: There is nothing that you can do to assert yourself around micro-managers.
With a clearer understanding of micro-management, all staff can work well with others. Here are some general tips:
Joe Bouchard is a librarian at Baraga Maximum Correctional Facility within the Michigan Department of Corrections. He is also a member of the Board of Experts for “The Corrections Professional” and an instructor of Corrections and Psychology for Gogebic Community College. He can be reached at (906) 353-7070 ext 1321. These are the opinions of Joe Bouchard, and not of the MIDOC or Corrections.com.
1 Bouchard, Joseph. "How Micromanaging affects operations in a facility." The Corrections Professional 11.7 (2005): 3.
Other articles by Joe Bouchard
Custody awareness and corrections vitality, 5/20/07
We are who they say we are, 4/29/07
Coping with tragedy - lessons for corrections, 4/23/07
Building Empires: The rise and fall of cliques, 3/27/07
A horse sense of teamwork, 2/14/07
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