Managing In Micro

I am the one who speaks for you when you’ve been asked a question.

I am the ruination of your personal motivation.

I weaken your spirit and water down your enthusiasm.

I hear your ideas but rarely spit them back out without adding my own twist.

I nod and smile when you talk to me then I say what I wanted to say anyway, unaffected by what you just offered.

I sometimes enlist you to take on my idea and represent it to others. In those moments I enlist your trust. Later I will intimate that you misrepresented my goals.

I give you a task, and then change everything at the last minute, so that I actually do the task, while making you feel stupid and that you’ve totally wasted your time in the process.

I remind you of your mother, father, gym teacher, therapist, spouse, or anyone else who may come to mind when you have feelings of being suppressed or respectfully silent in deference to the other person.

You don’t share my vision, which I interpret as you don’t like me. I have therefore decided not to like you. After all we don’t see eye to eye. That is, you have your own opinion.

I don’t care if I hurt you, at least things will be done right.

I am why you have developed the habit of quitting on yourself or only pushing an idea so far before you back off. The constant rejection and lack of ownership have stunted you too many times.

I am why you stopped gunning for the next position or move up.

I’ve overridden your recommendations so many times now you no longer believe in their merit.

I have even more surprises for you.

I have molded and beaten down your character so many times, it has bled into your personal life. Your commitment to things has waned over the years. The things you observe about your life, your finances, your children that you would have drastically changed, you now allow. Your nature has become passive. You think, “Why bother?”

You’ve lost character. You’ve lost respect. You lost status, pride, and a sense of accomplishment.

Suddenly you are interested in how many years you have until retirement.

Is all this an overstatement? Maybe… Maybe not…

This culprit moves in a very stealth-like manner through most organizations and if you don’t think he/she inflicts the kind of aforementioned damage, think again. The key factor is trust or a lack of it. How many things go well when distrustful emotions plague progress, initiative or creation?

The tension created in any culture through a lack of trust beats at the shores of morale like a tidal wave and washes all that is gained out to sea when that faith is questioned. Inspiration grinds to a halt and people begin to echo that poisonous question, “Why should I work so hard on something that’s…

…going to get changed anyway

…not going to get used anyway

…not going to be right the first time no matter how good it is?”

You figure it out yet?

The culprit is the micromanager.

He’s the one that never stops to think that every great thing done in the world was usually initiated and followed through by one person; one passionate individual that built on a theme and wanted to use his/her vision to make something happen; to have a controlled outcome at their discretion without democratic input and coaching.

He never sees the value of the individual adding to the whole, making a contribution in the spirit of what the manager wanted instead of spitting out exactly what was dictated. Allowing for a bit of ownership, individuality, even perhaps constructive creativity? No, we can’t have that kind of thing going on.

“Your honor, I’d like permission to cross examine this witness.”

Go ahead, Mr. Ciancutti.

“Thank you. Mr. Micromanager?”


“Can you answer me a few questions?”

I suppose.

“Why do you have to tell everybody what to do?”

They won’t know what I want if I don’t tell them over and over. They’ll get it wrong.

“Is that so bad?”

Well, it won’t be what I want.

“And your vision is the only one that counts?”

Well they made me the manager for a reason, right?

“Quickly sir, name me a great work of art, a great theory, a stirring piece of music, a great book that was written by a group.”


“Tough question, huh?”

Give me a minute.

“Let’s just skip that one.”

If you say so.

“Mr. Micromanager, what’s at risk? I mean why are you so worried about control?”

I don’t like the way you said that. I am not a control freak. I insist I am not.

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