Chapter 9. Challenge 6 Get Your Boss Off Your Back or Continue to Be Micromanaged?

There are a certain number of questions I like to ask professionals when I interview them for a job. One of them is, "What kind of boss do you enjoy working for?" Without fail, among other things, every single person has answered, "A boss who isn't watching over me all the time."

Of all the managers I have met, interviewed, and worked for and with, not one has ever admitted to being a micromanager. Yet many of them were. Micromanaging is a trait that no one really likes or admires, so no one likes to admit that they might be guilty of this troublesome behavior.

One client I worked with, a manager at an engineering firm was, to my way of thinking, the classic engineer: very bright, very linear and concrete in his thinking, and very process-oriented. He decided he wanted his direct reports to complete weekly status reports. (I am of the opinion that much of what is contained in a status report is never read or necessary to include, but that's another topic.) This manager, Don, instructed his staff to report on almost every move they made. As it turned out, Don had instituted this practice because he had issues with one of his six staff members.)

I learned from Don's employees that they were spending approximately two hours each week preparing the reports. That meant 5 percent of their time was spent writing reports about what they were doing the other 95 percent of the time! Needless to say, they resented ...

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