How I Overcame Micromanagement | Fierce

Have you ever felt like you were being micromanaged?

Isn’t that a frustrating experience at work? I had that experience a few years ago and it particularly rankled me because I really value autonomy.

I love it when I’m given a direction and set free to go and accomplish the goal. A few years ago, I was working in some version of learning development which has been most of my career. I was feeling really accomplished and capable and had been at this organization for a while and really had some successes there.

The change that happened that led to me feeling micromanaged was a new manager, a new director of the area came in, a Vice President.

I was responsible for the learning development function within the HR function and I started to sense that he was really looking over my shoulder and micromanaging. Wanting to check all of the things that I was doing, dotting “I”‘s and crossing T’s and it just didn’t feel comfortable.

I ended up falling victim to him, I gave the power to him. In Fierce accountability, we talk about, given that all of these things are true and the fact that he was essentially micromanaging me, the question then to ask myself was, what can you do?

It took me a while to get there, if I’m honest. I did, like a lot of us do, we go into that negative spiral and I told myself stories and I believe the stories about him micromanaging. Sometimes I even talked to my colleagues who felt the same thing and then we would band together and say, oh, it’s all about him, he’s terrible, we’re right. he’s wrong.

Then finally I heard myself. I woke up, because again, the other thing that we talk about at Fierce is that our lives, our careers, our companies succeed or fail gradually than suddenly one conversation at a time.

Oftentimes it’s the missing conversation that can cause things to go haywire.

Knowing all of that, it all had been stored up in my brain and I suddenly recalled it for myself and I realized I need to have a conversation.

I tapped into another Fierce tool, which is the delegation conversations, specifically the delegation tree, that model that talks about having decision making rights at different levels, of root, trunk, branch and leaf. It’s a really simple process, I could then have the conversation with this new manager and explain how it worked. I said, here’s a list of all the things that I’m currently responsible for, here’s where I feel like I should have the rights to make some decisions without you or with you.

It enabled us to talk about all the things that I had on my plate that I was responsible for and get his input on why he had moved some things, and why he was looking a little bit closer. It also gave him an opportunity to say, you’re right, I have been looking a little bit more over your shoulder and it’s not about you, it’s about me. I’m doing that with everyone. I’m trying to learn more about how this company functions and shame on me, I should have said that to you and I apologize for that.

I really appreciated that. It shifted me. I took action, had the conversation, he was wonderful, open and it enabled us to enrich the relationship and find a path forward successfully. I shared a joke, my decision making tree is looking a lot like a stump because you’re keeping me at the trunk level and requiring me to have a conversation before I do anything.

It enabled us to lighten the spirit a little bit and also to kind of recognize that’s what happens when you pull everything back as a manager, you get that name of micromanager.

I wanted to share that with you because I know that from time to time we can feel like we’re being micromanaged and it sometimes just requires a clarity of alignment through a conversation and our decision tree, our delegation model can help to provide that.

I wish you well and hope that if you ever feel micromanaged and loss of accountability that you can think of Fierce and get ready to have that conversation and change your life and change your world.

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