I just finished reading an article on micromanagement that was a true or false test. In each case you answer true or false to the questions with the results below:

  1. My employees excel at their jobs, because they have been doing the same work for years.
  2. I share my experience with employees, so they learn from what I have done.
  3. I help employees with assignments, offering my ideas and input.
  4. I standardize workplace procedures for optimum results.
  5. I know what everyone is working on, because my employees complete detailed status reports.
  6. I have a hand in everything my department does.
  7. I check in with the staff often when I am out of the office.
  8. I am the most knowledgeable and hardest working person on the team.
  9. I’m a control freak, but that’s why my department runs so smoothly.

I answered ‘True’ to 2, 3 and 4, the rest false. The articles interpretation of the results:

Results: Answering True to any of the above statements could indicate that you are micromanaging your staff. Don’t think that’s you? In surveys, four of five workers have said they have worked for a micromanager. To be sure that you truly aren’t guilty, take a closer look at your answers.

They then interpreted each result, an example being if you answered ‘True’ to number 8:

8. You should know more about some things than your staff, but they should be the experts in other areas. Hire people with complementary skills and your team will have much greater capability. And if you are working harder than anyone on your team, look at your to-do list and identify tasks you should be delegating.

On this question, I always remember a statement that a leader once made to me; “If you are the smartest person in the room all the time, you are in trouble. Always look to hire the smartest people you can, and never shy away from hiring those who are smarter than you”.

On the questions I answered ‘True’ to:

2. Of course you should share your expertise, but employees also need to learn for themselves. Instead of spouting advice before they ask, offer them guidance and support. (Agree – the best way to learn is by making mistakes and taking smart risks. But you also learn from managers who are willing to share their mistakes (not just their victories))

3. Nothing kills initiative on an assignment like having the boss do the work for you. Set the parameters and then listen to employees’ ideas first. Don’t offer your opinions unless they truly add substantial value to the project. (Agree – good managers are coaches)

4. Standardization is great, unless it kills initiative and innovation. Allow your staff to try new approaches. (Agree – I think of it this way. Take regional innovation (those new approaches) and apply it globally as often as possible to ensure everyone gets the benefit of the innovation)

A good test, especially for that new manager recently promoted from individual contributor.

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