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Opinions On Micromanagement At Work.


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First off, micromanagement is generally when your boss or supervisor wants to know every detail of your work day.

As of yesterday, me and my co-workers have been told to detail everything we do. Everything. Now I wasn't too familiar with micromanagement until I started looking it up online and for the most part it never works. It created a hostile work environment, distrust between supervisor and worker and for the most part, counter productive. Some even have said that it's a form of workplace bullying.

My supervisor personally, is a horrible supervisor as it was and I'm afraid that this will make him worse. The reason I say he's a bad supervisor is because he plays favorites and have very little experience in the job we do(janitorial).

So has/does anyone else have a micromanagement boss/supervisor and if so, how do you deal with it?

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Although I feel your pain. I do believe that people slap the micromanager label waaay to early. Hard to tell from your description. Is a boss that wants things done a certain way a micromanager? Because that's one degree and it can certainly be taken to a ridiculous degree to how a paper is folded, how many spaces you put after a period, etc etc.


They have just enough power but not real power. If that makes sense.

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My response would be "Fine.  As long as I can see what you are doing all day"


Good for the goose, good for the gander.  Or else I would start looking for another job.

I would love to say that. But we both know how that would end.

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Some bosses suck.  That's just a part of life. 


If my boss asked me for details on everything I did, I'd just give him details on everything I did.  Unless your boss is being abusive, I would just do what he says.  If he is abusive, then you can go to HR.


There are no silver bullet on bad bosses.  Unless you know the jedi mind trick, you either have to learn to put up with his crap or move to a different job, either within the company or outside.


I had a previous boss (a good one) who said "It all pays the same."  In other words, sometime work sucks but you're getting a paycheck and that's the main thing.

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I always tried to stay ahead of being micro-managed. It would drive me crazy.

Boss would ask when I would have staff evaluations done...I would hand him the file.

Boss would ask when I would have sales forecasts done...I would send him the file.


I made all types of spreadsheet programs to make everything so easy, that a 10 year old could do it and be successful.

I think it drove him crazy that I was always a step ahead. When he was thinking of something to manage I would already have it done and most likely a solution for another thing.


Made me lots of money though. To me it was annoying, but I never complained because I knew I was smarter than him and ended up more successful anyway.

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Sacase with the zinger!
Well played!


Nothing else to add except to say I agree with Dave and Kosher Ham. You just need to deal.

I've been working in an office for the first time in nearly 20 years of freelancing since April,, i'm just starting to get used to actually having to answer to someone other than the client.. and she can be tough.

I would not say I'm micromanaged, though.. but the boss does like to have her finger on every pulse of the company.

For that i can't blame her. I've found out how she prefers to do things, and that is how i do it, and anticipate for what is to come.


I always go with the Oak and Reed parable..

to paraphrase,,  a mighty oak stood on the banks of a river and it constantly lorded it's size and power over the thin small reeds who lived in the shallows in it's shadow.

One day a storm came up and the wind blew and the oak stood strong against it like he always had, and this time he toppled, like tall trees are apt to do...  but the weak little reed just bent with the wind, and when it passed, stood back up just like always.


be the reed, whether it's to simply do as asked, or get out in front. The wind's always going to blow.



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And that's all it is Bang.


Surely there were conversations from time to time about a difference of opinion...but that wasn't what my boss was looking for. He was looking for the things he liked to nitpick about. I just beat him down to the point that when I would see him we would just talk sports.


Hell, I used to write my own evaluations. I was honest about my strengths and developmental needs at least. Worked out because it made me focus more on the things I needed to learn to manage better to keep having that paper in my pockets.

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In my experience, the call for such detail is invariably linked to poor management having screwed up horribly over the last year or more.

I'm going to make a couple guesses. Tell me if I am wrong.

Project teams at your company have been dysfunctional due to poor scheduling by project management, requiring superhero efforts from junior and senior level.

PMs have consistently over promised and under delivered, and clients are feeling jerked around because their expectations were not managed.

A process consultant was brought in to "find the problem". He or she is going to be a PM who does nothing apparent. Think the Bobs from Office Space.

Suddenly, you're being asked to micro-track by your PMs.

Do it. Be acceptably accurate. Things are about to get better, because the next step is...

You're going to see a few PMs released very soon. Junior and senior levels should be safe. Don't sweat it. This isn't about you guys. Someone, probably multiple someones, has been sucking horribly at the PM level. They are going to use the new data to identify the most inefficient one(s) and a head or three will roll to get the others in line.

The only downside here is that the PMs who survive usually become paranoid nazis who make things unpleasant for the grunts and sergeants. Just remember, this isn't about you.

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@drtdrums: Yeah you hit the nail on the head.  His supervisor is probably getting heat from upper management, and the **** is rolling downhill.  But I wouldn't say necessarily that DM72 is in the clear as long as he plays along.  It could be the case that the supervisor is buddies with at least some of upper management and could protect himself by sacrificing lower level people.  It could also indicate financial problems with the company that are a prelude to layoffs.


Thankfully  in my job situation (software engineering) where it doesn't matter how something gets done, but that it does get done and in a reasonable amount of time.  My boss is too busy to bother with such bean counting nonsense.   Actually if he required something like a weekly update I probably wouldn't mind so much (and I do send out emails when something is ready, major changes are made or major milestones are reached even when he doesn't ask for them).  But if someone wanted something like an hour by hour breakdown of what I had been doing every single day, my first thought would be to tell them to go fly a kite, although I probably wouldn't have the courage to say so right there. I would definitely immediately start looking for another job.   I'm no serf and my boss isn't my lord and master, sorry.  It would be a huge waste of my time, not to mention my bosses time  (why would he need so much paper just to evaluate an employee?) .   Nonsense like that is for people who don't really don't have much to do and need to find some way to justify their job.

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My advice to you DM72 is to tread lightly. Especially if this is a professional, white collar, type of career you're interested in pursuing for the long term. If you're truly convinced the relationship is spoiled with no chance of improving then start laying the groundwork now and find another position elsewhere. There really is no other solution unless you are keyed in with people that are in a position to help you that are above your supervisor - even then I would advise you tread very, very lightly. Learn to respond with intelligence and not fear based reaction, which I know is much easier said than done. Remove emotion as much as possible - for your sake.


I've been in a similar situation several times and it's one of the worst you can experience IMO. I worked for a federally funded R&D employer in NOVA and had a supervisor that would literally yell at me without cause. She made my life miserable. She did so obviously out of insecurity, self-loathing and fear - her boss caused her much stress and she in kind took it out on me. She needed an outlet and I was it. I went to HR because I thought this was the appropriate course of action, but, it only served to make things much worse. I was soon thereafter fired.


Now, it looks really bad on a resume when you stay in a position for only 5 months - especially at a place where I was employed because everyone in the DMV area are aware of its reputation for being a great place to work. It is, but, unfortunately, I was unlucky enough to work with some of the most vile people I've ever met in that particular department. I almost ate a bullet because of it. I never thought I'd find a decent job again especially in the job environment we're in presently where even menial jobs are hard to come by. I thought I would have to rely on my parents and burden them, which was not an option for me. Things were bleak to say the least. I found God and took a position in Florida. I'm currently working 3 part-time jobs to try and make ends meet. Thankfully, I've no family to support. Things are slowly improving.


I've unfortunately learned most things the hard way in life.  


-Always think ahead 5 years or so

-Never make a decision without talking it through with someone that loves and respects you


-Be thankful for what you've got - nothing is ever going to be perfect

Case in point: I left a federally funded R&D position in 2007 and have regretted it ever since. I'd be a millionaire had I stayed on for 20 years and retired.  


-Life is always going to challenge you - learning how to respond when it does is the key


Good Luck brother...

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Just do it. If all's well with your time management the you have nothing to fear. I wish my boss would micro manage. I work with a couple of people that wouldn't be able to account for their time at all.

Maybe I don't fully understand your position and all. My job is at least 80% self directed. We need it because of slouchers which leaves a few ending up doing the majority of the work.

Just my opinion.

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As this is the Tailgate I feel comfortable expressing an opinion on an industry that I have no knowledge of  :)  ... , but I would think processes, checklists and a schedule are a very good idea, if that's the line of work you're in. The question is why you don't already have this guidance.

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The thing with the general outline and checklists is that you have to essentially (at least initially) make more work for yourself.


Constantly tweaking them to add things previously overlooked incidentally. Once you have that done...you are on easy street.


Then you and everyone else is on the same page after that. Of course there will be the occasional hang ups or mistakes, at that point most of them are fixable and minor.


Key is to continue to look for ways to make everything easier/faster/streamlined. Implement the changes through Emails, meetings, or whatever. Provided the follow up support to make it consistent throughout the planned addition/change.


Nothing wrong with holding people accountable. Nothing wrong with admitting that you made a mistake either.

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