Micromanagement

Micromanagement
Intent
: Manage the details of a project directly rather than through the offices of the appropriate team

Proverbs: You have to know when to let go; lack of accountability equates to lack of trust

Also Known As: Control Freakery

Motivation: Managers can find it hard to delegate operational responsibilities. There are a number of possible motives for a manager wishing to retain control. For example, the manager may not trust others to perform the duties satisfactorily, or he or she may simply enjoy dealing with operational matters.

Structure: A team member’s involvement with a project is controlled by a manager, such that the member has little or no autonomy. The ability of the team member to inspect and adapt working practices is compromised where authority in operational matters is vested in the manager.

Applicability: Micromanagement is a common issue with managers who have been promoted from the field, and who wish to retain a degree of operational control. This dysfunction can also affect managers with a vision or strategy about which they feel strongly, and who exert an inappropriate amount of oversight on operational details.

Consequences: Micromanagement creates a bottleneck in decision making and leads to waste being incurred. Actions may not be taken in a timely manner and could be absent altogether, poorly-informed, or rushed. Since inspection and adaptation of the team’s process is not vested in them, their accountability and responsibilities within the value chain will be compromised. Note that micromanagers can be quite selective in the concerns they choose to interfere with, and may continue to delegate matters they do not wish to address. Micromanagers who selectively interfere with people’s work are likely to create inconsistencies in quality, and to infuriate and alienate the affected team members.

Implementation
: Organizations with a command-and-control management culture often suffer from micromanagement. This problem can be carried into an agile transformation. As such, the implementation of servant-leadership often requires that the micromanagement anti-pattern be eliminated first.