I'm sitting with a friend at a coffee shop, working on our various projects. He told me a story about how his boss handles team leading and project management. -VERY "hands on" to the point of being a "micromanager." The irony is that his boss definitely seems to be under the impression that he is not. In fact, according to my friend his first interaction with his boss he said, "I'm not a micromanager, you can do things your way." -Doesn't turn out to be true.
Now, my director on the other hand will often apologize to me and say things like, "look I know that I have a tendency to micromanage...." -when in reality the guy is extremely hands off. In fact, sometimes I wished he took a more active role in my day to day.
So the realization is that in the case of self-declarations of micromanagement tendencies, the opposite is likely to be true.
For those of you with leaders, managers, directors, VP's, or Presidents you work for or have worked for in the past, do you find this rings true?
Are you micro-managed?
I have been both micromanaged and at times, been a micromanager. This is a huge source of organizational conflict and one of the approaches used to address conflicts arising from interactions between all levels of leadership is called resonant leadership.
A lot of conflict engagement/management/resolution skills seem like "feel good" practices, especially because they tend to consider the "emotional side" of things. The reality of it is that people have emotions that are often ignored in favor of efficiency or getting the job done and when people feel misunderstood or that they are being treated as a cog in the machine, conflicts arise (imagine that).
Anyway, successful management is a collaboration where those being managed are active in managing themselves and work with their nominal manager to make sure that everything runs smoothly. From what I've learned and observed so far, many organizations that bring organizational leadership/conflict skills consultants into the mix tend to want someone with Authority to fix everything, as if leadership is not at all a contributor to the problems they are having, when most often the leadership is a part of the problem.
Resonant leadership in a nutshell, is the idea that those that are being led take cues from the leader. If the leader is active and engaged, those being led "have permission" to be active and engaged. If the leader is distant and uninterested, that gives others license to do the same.
For example, I once had a manager who didn't introduce herself to us for two whole weeks and then jumped in, guns blazing telling us How Things Were Going To Be. Our response? "Who the fuck are you and why the fuck are you bothering us with this authoritarian bullshit?" By the end of that quarter, many of us had decided to move on. An extreme point of view was introduced to what was otherwise a very profitable enterprise and so we decided that extreme measures should be taken.
Once that manager was in place, it was also decided that we should focus on profits and bringing in as much business as we could at the cost of time to create quality lessons and run quality classes. So, we began to work the students hard to ensure that they passed tests and the students came to resent us in the way that we resented our new manager and thus, many of us decided that that particular school was no longer for us.
Good management, like a good conversation means that each side gets a chance to put something out there and each side gets a chance to receive constructive feedback. It's a lot of work.