Is Trump a micromanager

Bernd Geropp

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In episode 133 of the podcast I already discussed the fatal effects of micromanagement. Today the focus is on how you as an employee can best deal with a micromanager as the boss.

Demotivation through micromanagers

As an employee who suffers from a micromanager, over time you lose the fun at work. And that doesn't only affect clerks. No, of course a manager can also suffer from a micromanaging boss.

Such bosses have no leadership skills and are demotivated and frustrated by excessive specifications and a lack of trust. They almost educate their employees to become dependent.

Creativity among the employees? Nothing. How also - that is apparently not wanted either. After a while, employees only do their job according to regulations and lose their motivation to do anything at all.

The behavior of micromanagers has various negative effects on employees - up to and including insecurity, excessive and insufficient demands.

There are even particularly mean bosses who consciously use micromanagement as an instrument of power - this is a particularly nasty type of bullying. However, this is rather the exception.

Most bosses don't micromanage because they want to torture their employees. Some are unaware that you are doing it at all.

It's not always the personality ...

Detail-obsessed micromanagement is not always due to the personality of the manager. Nonsensical organizational requirements as well as legal requirements, so-called compliance rules, can turn an otherwise sensible boss into a micromanager.

Last year an article appeared in the FAZ under the title “Kernkompetenz veretteln!” I quote:

“… This is particularly evident in the extreme example of the American“ Sarbanes-Oxley Act ”, which imposes extensive reporting and risk management requirements on companies that are listed on an American stock exchange.

The managers entrusted with this are held personally accountable for errors and violations, which in extreme cases can even lead to prison sentences. It is obvious that such a work situation does not exactly encourage the tendency to delegate ... ”

That is of course extreme. In such positions the manager has no choice but to micromanage.

As a micromanaged employee, there is only the option of “Love it” or “Leave it” in such a situation. Since the legal situation will not be changed so easily, the option of external “change” is not available here.

5 types of micromanagers

But how can you, as an employee, deal with a boss who has not been forced into micromanagement but who acts that way based on his personality?

What can you do to create space with someone like that and not lose the fun at work? Is that how you can dissuade someone from micromanaging?

Before we get into that, let me introduce you to 5 types of micromanagers. It is important to understand their motivation in order to know why they are doing it.

Very few of these micromanagers actually appear in their purest form. Of course there is also some overlap and many of them are not as extreme as I describe below.

The first type of micromanager is that

The control addict

He is shaped by the fact that he wants to have everything under control. He is almost terrified of losing control. He wants clarity and predictability.

He wants to be informed about everything and everyone. For him, planning and control are very important in life. This fear of losing control is often related to a lack of self-confidence and thus to fear.

The 0 error demanding

It is someone who feels almost physical pain when there is a fault in a system somewhere. Because mistakes are bad per se. For him, mistakes must always be avoided at all times.

And since he does not trust anyone to pay attention to correctness as much as he does, he has to take a lot of things into his own hands or at least check them very closely. Otherwise it won't work.

One often hears one sentence from him:

"Trust may be good, control is always better!"

The oppressor

This is someone who ultimately wants to exercise power in order to look good to others. If his employees could do everything themselves, then maybe you wouldn't need him. This cant be true.

And that's why he likes to keep important information to himself and therefore unfortunately has to micromanage because the employees can't. Well, just like when the employees don't get the important information.

This type of micromanager also includes the previously mentioned nasty boss, who uses micromanagement as a type of bullying, e.g. to drive undesired employees into dismissal in the long term.

The artist

He has a clear idea of ​​what the end result of a project or product should look like - down to the smallest detail. He's almost in love with the project or the product and that's why the 80:20 rule is not really his thing.

Such a person can be highly successful in some areas. Steve Jobs, for example, comes to mind. He was someone who extremely micro-managed in some areas to get exactly what he wanted in the end.

But I think he was an exception and he knew very well where he had to go into great detail and where exactly what he wanted had to be implemented - and where not.

If you as the boss should now believe:

“Yes exactly: that's me. An artist. I can't help it. "

Uh Sorry, I don't think so. Do you assume that you are not of the artist type - or have you already built a company similar to Apple?

The expert

This is exactly the category I found myself at the beginning of my career. Experts are mostly managers who have previously successfully carried out specialist tasks as clerks for years, i.e. were experts. They have now been promoted or have started their own business and now they have to delegate these specialist tasks.

But that's not easy. If I have been the best programmer for years, then naturally it is difficult for me to hand over the programming tasks when I am now the group leader.

Because I am convinced that my employees will not do their jobs as well as I do. So I give them everything and check the implementation. As an expert, there is always a high risk of becoming a micromanager in the activities that previously distinguished you.

As I said, I speak here from experience. Anyone who has been listening to the podcast for a long time will know my story about delegating. If not, listen to episode 10 of the podcast.

What do you do as an employee?

What can you do as an employee if you suffer from a micromanager? I have a few tips for you.

Build Trust!

A micromanager wants to be certain that everything is working. He always wants to have enough information.

"I do not know that."

If he had to say that, it would be bad for his confidence, especially if he is a control addict. Therefore, approach your boss and actively offer him the opportunity to report on the current status of your projects on a regular basis.

Do you clarify exactly what your boss would like? What does he really need and at what time? What are his expectations so that he has the good feeling that things are going well. How do you manage to satisfy his motivation?

Understand the micromanager's fears

and try to take the micromanager's fears away or at least reduce them through your behavior.

The fear of the control addict

The control addict is terrified of others - especially of the situation if he stands there in front of colleagues or even his own boss because he doesn't know exactly what has happened in his area.

The fear of those demanding zero errors

It is a little different with the 0-error claimant. He never wants to be accused of having made mistakes. That's his fear that he could be blamed for that.

The fear of the oppressor

The oppressor is afraid of being disempowered. He combines knowledge and information with power and authority. His fear can also consist in believing that he is superfluous if he no longer has an information advantage as a boss.

So he withholds information. To take this fear away from him - at least in part - is a long-term process and not easy - but possible.

The artist's fear

is the fear that employees might be satisfied with an inferior solution. And actually all solutions that have not grown on his crap are inferior.

If you are the type of artist as the micromanaging boss, try to find out exactly which areas are really important to him and in which areas he may be able to agree to an 80:20 rule or a solution from someone else.

The expert's fear

He's afraid of delegating. Usually he has had bad experiences with it in the past. It therefore specifies in detail how something is to be done.

It is also possible that he has not yet properly assumed the role of manager. He still needs to be needed and viewed as an expert.

His self-esteem is still mainly based on seeing himself as the expert instead of defining himself as a leader and manager. That's how it was for me at the beginning of my career.

Is that my job?

Perhaps you are now saying:

"But Mr. Geropp, it can't be my job to take my boss's fear away."

Of course, it doesn't say so in your job description. But it is beneficial if you behave like this and learn what makes your boss tick.

Yes, you are right. You have to adapt to your boss - whether you like it or not. You are employed - and I emphasize the word: dependent.

You always have the choice: “Love it, Change it, leave it”. And if there is no other way, then you have to take the initiative and get another job. But try it out first. Learning to lead your boss can also be exciting.

Another tip:

Come up with solutions!

If there are any difficulties, report to your boss immediately - but always suggest one or more solutions. Your boss will want to decide. But he will take it sympathetically if you come up with suggested solutions.

As you do this for a period of time, you build goodwill and trust. After a while and observing the typical feedback rules - you can then carefully tell him that and where you feel micromanaged. Make a suggestion about how you would like it and the benefits it would have for your boss.

If you do this skillfully and especially point out its advantages, you have a good chance of making a difference.

Be lenient!

But - be lenient with your boss. Start with small changes and keep building trust.

“The good news is: Few people are born micromanagers. Most can change for the better. The bad news is: It takes time to change! "

Free webinar

Because this topic is so important, I hold free webinars entitled:

"How to Avoid Micromanagement!"

You can watch the replay of the webinar here:



The inspirational quote

"If you know what you can overlook, you gain a broad and overview"

Ernst Ferstl




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