Sometimes you run into management that is an interesting mix of styles if not a weird almost contradictory management style like the forgetful micromanager.
They want to know everything that is going on, and insist on riding side saddle on all work done, but can not remember details from day to day on what is happening when they ride side saddle.
This makes a lot of work for a project manager, the project team, and upper management as well, because team members will complain about the lost time under increasingly short deadlines. Every hour spent re-briefing the forgetful micromanager is an hour that is not being spent writing code or doing other project oriented kinds of work
The forgetful micromanager means well, and they want to make sure that everything is happening the way that it needs to happen, but they have no room in their managers toolkit to support any other style of management. The forgetful micromanager needs to see exactly what is happening as it happens, and then needs to be reminded that things happened, even if they did not see something happen.
These kinds of managers are on the CC line of every e-mail sent on the project or program. If they are not deeply embedded in the project advising, pinging and otherwise trying to get their team to do things exactly how they do things, then they believe that they are just not manager material.
The forgetful micromanager needs to be involved intimately with the project, and wants to be involved with the project to the point where they are building themselves out into 60 80 hour work weeks to make sure that everyone is doing everything that they need to do across their sphere of influence. Then they promptly forget everything that had to do with the project or program, meaning you have to brief them on things that were done, agreed upon, or otherwise in flight every couple of days.
This leads to a lot of rework, and trust issues amongst employees, project managers, and just about everyone involved with a project because everyone knows that every two or three days that the project will pause while the forgetful micromanager will stop everything to make sure they know everything that is going on since the inception of the project.
If you run into the forgetful micromanager, odds are most likely that they know they are doing this already. There are some psychological tricks you can pull on them, knowing full well that they will forget that you pulled psychological tricks on them. You can also put the project manager as the point person on the project so that the workers can go about their business, and insist on the forgetful micromanager follow the proper chain of communication, insist on it, and keep it. Eventually as the team members tell the forgetful micromanager to talk to the PM, that lesson will click home about 7 months into the project.
The key thing, do not let the forgetful micromanager bug you, it is not you, it really is all about them. However frustrating, eventually these kinds of folks find something else to go work on, or get moved onto another project. They can be annoying, frustrating, and interfere in the good operations of a team, but their life span is short, and most teams will breath a sigh of relief when they get moved on.
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About the Author:
Dan Morrill has been in the information security field for 18 years, both
civilian and military, and is currently working on his Doctor of Management.
Dan shares his insights on the important security issues of today through
his blog, Managing
Intellectual Property & IT Security, and is an active participant in the
ITtoolbox blogging community.
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