THE ‘SIN’ OF MICROMANAGEMENT

Source: https://www.intelivate.com/teamstrategy/ toxic-leadership-team-performance

Ever heard of the ‘School of Micromanagement’? In the real world no such academic institutions exist. But in Vanuatu we have ‘bosses’ in various organisations who appear to have graduated from the University of Micro-Management (UMM).

According to management writer Selam Nuri , ‘Micromanagement is considered to be one of the “most widely condemned managerial sins” (ref: https://bizfluent.com/info- 8582293-negative effectsmicromanagement. html).

I attended Management school as part of my undergraduate studies, and ventured a bit into it again during postgraduate school. I am passionate about the theories, principles and practices of modern management, especially those that help to reinvigorate problematic organisations which might have once been labelled as ‘dead’, hopeless, and done with.

Recently the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB) won a prestigious award as ‘the most outstanding ministry’ during the PSC Day at the Conention Centre.

Those who have never been at the helmn of that Ministry during its past dolldrum years might think MALFFB has always been the fantastic organisation it is today, or that this award basically fell out of the blue.

Such a far cry from realities – from when the organisational culture was very individualistic, from when worker discipline was very poor, from where

there were no sectoral policy directions to guide vision and operations, and from when political interference was so rhife that staff morale was almost nonexistent, and last but not the least, from when micromanagement or very poor management at leadership level was a hugely problematic case.

Today MALFFB enjoys the limelight. I am happy for them. But they should not just rest on their laurels and continue to ride down the crest of a dying

Tsunamic wave of reforms and restructuring which the Ministry underwent from mid- 2013 to late 2016. Innovation, creativity and sheer hard work and proper project management and coordination of the entire Ministry’s work must continue from the green building at the Independence

Park.

On a broader scale, the organisational ‘sin’ called Micromanagement (across Government) needs to be dealt with. One part is that of micromanagement, but the otherside of it is simply the lack of initiative and excitement by staff to do development. So comes the phrase, ‘when the cat’s away, the mice will play’.

This article discusses the subject of micromanagement just as a reminder or possibly as a means of awareness on what it is all about, and its pitfalls and threats to organisations - especially those within Government.

Micromanagement is an organisational killer. Yet some Heads of agencies (Chairmen, etc) cannot get this straight in their brains.

They spend a lot of time interfering with departmental operations, Secretariats, and functions that have nothing to do with their roles and functions and their responsibilities.

Rather than focus on key milestones and concentrating on key result areas (KRAs) and key result indicators (KRIs), they also go and chair ordinary staff meetings, dictate what staff need to do, etc. And to them that is leadership. Wrong route!

But the question still stands, HOW do you recognise micromanagement in the workplace? It begins with lack of trust in a team. And that team might comprise a few workers or hundreds. Because of this the micromanager naturally increases control.

This leads to diminised leadership effectiveness both at his or her level and among others who are ‘leaders’ in their own right within the organisation. This creates a lack of team self-sufficiency, which then diminishes performance and impacts overall lack of leadership trust. In a nutshell, this is what micromanagement is all about.

A visitor friend walked into the downtown sales office of one of the telecommunication companies earlier this week and stood there watching this supervisor (of another regional ethnic origin) bossing around a number of young ni-Vanuatu.

This friend stood there for a while observing the young Ni-Van sales officers scurrying around in the room somewhat in fear due to the threatening presence of their foreign ‘supervisor’.

The friend eventually had enough of it and confronted the supervisor. So he goes, ‘is this what you do all day…sit and watch your ni-Van workers as if in a box’? And she goes, ‘yes, I am the supervisor’. And the friend responds, ‘so what, supervisors don’t......’, and he let all hell broke loose.

The supervisor walked through the backdoor and disappeared into another room. Main gist of this article is to draw people’s attention to the management sin called Micromanagement. Some top leaders within the system – both in Government, in the private sector and in NGOs – still entertain a n d practice this dreadful leadership habit.

It is discomforting, in hibit sand stiffles creativity and innovation, destroys worker morale, and does not induce a healthy working environment.

Universities don’t teach micromanagement.

Those who practice the bad habit might as well kick the habit and bring some confidence, trust and respect back into their respective workplaces.

Practicing the habit does not make them look good in the eyes of their employees.

Last but not the least, the practice of micromanagement is dictatorial in spirit, and therefore must go.

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