Mind Tools Newsletter 165: Escape Micromanagement!

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Mind Tools Newsletter 165: Escape Micromanagement!
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Mind Tools Newsletter 165 - October 26, 2010
Escape Micromanagement!

Do you ever experience the frustration of being micromanaged? That demoralizing feeling that someone is looking over your shoulder, and that nothing you do is "right"...

So what can you do if you're being micromanaged? This week's newsletter article, Escaping Micromanagement, will help. In it, we look at why micromanagement is a problem, and then explore five strategies that you can use if your boss is micromanaging you.

We also look at Value-Based Management. This is one of the key ideas underpinning 21st Century business, and it explains how businesses can escape the short-termism that so often comes with quarterly reporting.

New and Even Better!

We're also very pleased to announce that we've made the Career Excellence Club even better, with improved navigation and a fresh new design, plus special new features to help you get the very best out of your career.

You can find out more about the new look Club below. With a first month fee of just $1, the right to cancel at any time, and a multitude of in-depth tools and resources in the Club, this is a great time to join!

Enjoy this newsletter!

James Rachel

James Manktelow and Rachel Thompson
MindTools.com - Essential skills for an excellent career!

Featured Resources at Mind Tools
Escaping Micromanagement
Escaping Micromanagement
Becoming More Independent
Newsletter Readers
Does your boss have a dictatorial leadership style? Learn strategies for escaping micromanagement, so that you can have more freedom in your work. Newsletter Readers' Skill-Builder
Value-Based Management
Value-Based Management
Managing for the Long Term by Maximizing Value, Not Profit
All Readers
Companies can often focus on short-term profits and results, at the expense of creating longer-term value. Learn how to create long-term value for your organization or department. All Readers' Skill-Builder
Fiedler's Contingency Model
Fiedler's Contingency Model
Matching Leadership Style to a Situation
All Readers
Are you a task-focused or relationship-focused leader? This leadership model argues that different leadership styles will work best in different situations. All Readers' Skill-Builder
  ... And from the Career Excellence Club
McClelland's Human Motivation Theory
McClelland's Human Motivation Theory
Discovering What Drives Members of Your Team
Club Members
Do you know what truly motivates members of your team? Use this theory to understand each individual's motivational drivers, so that you can manage them more effectively. All Members' Skill-Builder
Inspiring Your Team
Inspiring Your Team Club Members
With her organization putting more and more demands on her and her team, Angela needed ideas on inspiring team members, and gaining their confidence. Find out how she developed these. All Members' Coaching Clinic
Remember! Club Members
Do you find it a struggle to remember things like names and passwords? Take this short training session to learn powerful techniques to help you to improve your memory. All Members' Bite-Sized Training™
Winning Body Language
Winning Body Language, with Mark Bowden Club Members
Body language expert and communication coach Mark Bowden tells us how we can use non-verbal cues to communicate more effectively at work. Premium Members' Expert Interview
The Why of Work
The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win Club Members
This book looks at how organizations can boost productivity by providing "meaning" to employees and customers. Find out more about it here.
Premium Members' Book Insight
The New-Look Career Excellence Club

As you may or may not know, we've spent four years working to provide a fantastically rich set of career success resources within our Career Excellence Club. Over the last nine months, we've also been working hard to make the Club really simple and enjoyable to use.

We're now proud to launch this work as the new-look Career Excellence Club!

Career Excellence Club Home Page

Here's what members are saying about the new style Club:

"Excellent and user friendly design. Great!" - cfa2009

"Love the New Look!" - MichaelP

"A quick note of congratulations on the new website. It's definitely a great step forward and no doubt the result of a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Many thanks to everyone involved in creating these improvements." - xprtt


As well as updating the design of the club, we've improved the navigation and usability so that you can find what you want more easily. Plus, we've added a new feature, My Favorites, so that you can save your favorite articles and pages to your own personal bookmark area in the club.

Naturally, the Club is still packed full of resources to help you to excel in your career, including the in-depth Toolkit and Bite-Sized Training sessions, and our Book Insight and Expert Interview podcasts.

Try the Club for yourself (just $1 for the first month) or take the
Club Tour to find out more!
Editors' Choice Article
Escaping Micromanagement
Becoming More Independent

Imagine that you work in a classic autocratic organization, and your boss follows every little rule. She oversees each detail of every project and task - and she seems to believe that you and the rest of the team are incapable of performing without her help at every step.

This, in turn, has created an oppressive and discouraging work environment. Productivity and morale are low, and many people have left to go to organizations that are less controlling and more empowering.
Herzberg's Motivators and Hygiene Factors
Does your boss watch over
everything that you do?
© iStockphoto/36clicks

You like the work that you do, and you want to stay with the company. So how can you improve your situation? How can you get your boss - and perhaps your organization - to trust you more?

Working in a micromanaged environment isn't easy. In this article, we'll highlight the disadvantages of micromanagement, and we'll explore what you can do if your boss micromanages you.

Remember, some organizations require a micromanagement style - particularly if mistakes can cost a lot of money, or threaten someone's life. If you believe that this is true for your company, you can still use some of the strategies in this article, but be aware that your boss or organization may be unwilling to "let go."

Disadvantages of Micromanagement

There are several disadvantages to a micromanagement style of leadership:
  1. It can hurt creativity - When your boss constantly checks up on you and tells you what to do, you have no power to think for yourself. This limits the solutions that you might find on your own.

  2. It can cause you stress - Often, micromanagers make you feel as if nothing you do is good enough. This type of working relationship can make even small tasks seem overwhelming.

  3. It can waste time - When your boss constantly holds meetings and gives instructions, she limits the time you could be working on productive tasks.

  4. It can hold you back professionally - Because you're dependent on your manager for every task, you don't take responsibility for yourself and for your work. This limits your growth and development, which may impact your career.
So, what can you do about it?

Critique Yourself

First, it's important to find out why your boss is micromanaging you. If he behaves this way only with you, then perhaps you're the cause.

Look honestly at your own work and habits. Have you ever given your boss a reason to mistrust you? Does disorganization or poor time management cause you to miss important deadlines? Do you find it hard to concentrate, or communicate poorly? Or do you fail to follow up on important leads or emails that your boss sends you?

These are tough questions. It's hard to look at yourself and your work objectively. Ask your colleagues for help. They may give you a clearer picture of your work habits than you'll see on

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