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Are You Micromanaged?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Have you ever worked for a micromanager? Then you know how frustrating and stifling it can be. Every move, every decision you make is scrutinized. Creativity and ingenuity are definitely not encouraged, and are often times the cause for reprimand. Let's look closer at the idea of micromanagement and how we, as a society, have allowed ourselves to become the micromanaged.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines micromanage as:
To direct or control in a detailed, often meddlesome manner.
In other words, a micromanager needs to feel that he is in total control of any given situation. He must direct every aspect of every operation right down to what color of black ink is used on the letterhead of outgoing mail.
Some would say that it's a matter of trust. When you're engaged in a working relationship with others that you trust and have confidence in, you're giving them the latitude to perform tasks by not sending them the message that, "It's my way or the highway." A micromanager, on the other hand, allows no room for human error. To the micromanager, there exists only one correct way to do a task. He telegraphs to his workers that the worker's experience, knowledge, and skill are not enough to perform the given task and are therefore not to be trusted. The worker is forced to perform the task within the most strict of conditions, and they most certainly are not allowed to think for themselves when it comes to problem solving. All deviations from given instructions must be approved first.
The consequences of needing to direct and control every detail is that the micromanager ends up having to do all the thinking for the entire group, not to mention most of the work. Imagine a situation where you're punished for innovation. This creates an environment where no one wants to step out on their own for fear that their decisions will not live up to the micromanager's expectations. No one likes to be punished for being resourceful or creative. To do so creates an environment where the worker will hold back and only act when called upon by the micromanager.
Again, looking at the consequences of micromanaging people, we see two distinct situations developing. The first is where the micromanager creates an environment where his way is the only correct way of doing a given task. This creates an artificial situation where he appears to be indispensable. In other words, if he were not present, no work would be accomplished because no one else knows how to do the micromanager's job. He must be present, or the whole system collapses. In creating this synthetic environment, the micromanager has secured his position. Fear of failure causes his workers to always get approval from him before making decisions. If he's not present to dole out approvals and to direct resources, all work comes to a screeching halt.
The second effect of micromanaging is seen in the workers themselves. When a worker is placed in an environment where he is told that there is only one correct way to perform any given task (and it most certainly isn't the one he's currently thinking of), he starts to feel that he's nothing more than an automaton. The worker perceives his function in the workplace as a mindless robot sitting idle waiting for a command to act. Do to fear of performing below the micromanager's expectations, if instructions for completing a task are incomplete, the worker will stop working until he gets clarity from the micromanager rather than taking the initiative of working through the problem on his own. As you can see, micromanaging creates an environment where you replace productive workers with a herd of mindless sheep.
This mentality is cancerous, too. It spreads throughout the workplace as workers up and down the chain of command learn to cover their posteriors for fear of reprimand if something goes horribly wrong. Older workers teach newer workers that initiative and ingenuity are not appreciated. It is far better to do only what you're told than to rock the boat. Furthermore, if you're in a situation where you have people under you, the last thing you want is to get reprimanded because one of your underlings took initiative that wasn't appreciated at some higher level. To quell any initiative, you tell your people to do only what they're told to do and most definitely no more than what's expected of them. And who amongst us can blame them for their actions?
So, how does this relate to our society on the whole? Simple: our government, as it currently exists, is in the business of micromanaging our lives. The old saying, "from cradle to grave" expresses perfectly what keeps government's position secure in our society. Over the years, government has slowly crept into every aspect of our lives and has supplanted our free will and our ability to make decisions for ourselves. They've even created micro-environments where they alone are masters. Our ability to think for ourselves has been replaced by the coddling of politicians who've promised us safety nets and subsidies.
What's worse is that many people today have been so conditioned to look to government for solutions to their problems that hardly a day goes by where you don't read of some group of people demanding their government fix something that they could have just as easily handled themselves. A once resourceful and independent people, Americans have become nothing more than sheep. We live our lives, mindless and clueless to our surroundings. We hide inside our cubicles, hoping some government official doesn't stick his nose into our business. We fear punishment for deviating from its multitude of rules and regulations that dictate to us how to live our lives. As in the example of the micromanager above, our relationship with our government is one that's born out of fear of punishment, not the free will and consent of the people.
We've been turned into a bunch of bleating sheep. Our government has firmly planted itself into our society as a necessary evil in our lives. We are taught that our society will most certainly collapse if government fails. We're told that civilization as we know it will cease to exist if the politicians and bureaucrats suddenly become unemployed. They drill into the heads of every man, woman, and child that they need government for their own personal safety and security. Much like the micromanager that secured his position by creating a synthetic environment where people are afraid to act without first getting his approval, government has created an environment where citizens are afraid to question the dictates handed down to them by their elected leaders. Government has become the end-all, be-all in our society. It's never to be questioned, and most certainly not opposed.
People need to realize that government is in the business of people management. Their sole purpose is to make sure we all get along with each other by not violating each other's rights. Where we run into trouble is when people turn to government to solve problems it has no business meddling in. What's worse is when government creates its own problems to solve. There is nothing more dangerous to society than when one arm of government decides to save you from the evils of another arm of government. It's government saving you from... well, government. Can you see the idiocy in that? It's not their fault you're not smart enough to see that the problem and the solution are one in the same. As a society, Americans have been so dumbed-down over the years that most people cannot make this simple connection.
Americans need to realize that we can greatly reduce the need for (and the size of) government by taking responsibility for ourselves. We need to tell government that we don't want, nor need, their help anymore. As a matter of fact, we need to impress upon government officials that for them to try to insert themselves into our private affairs will not be tolerated. We need to take control of our own lives; we need to solve our own problems. We need to once again become those creative, resourceful, innovative, and ingenious Americans that created this once-great nation. Ultimately, we need to learn to manage our own personal affairs. But, to do so, we also need to learn to tell government to butt-out!


Anonymous Anonymous said... Could Hitler dance? Could he! Of course the Furher could dance! He was an incredibley gifted dancer, and to see him swoop and glide around the grand ballrooms of Europe was like living a dream!

The music would begin, and our Furher would step, glide, and whirl, then make a little leap, and click his heels so crisply! Gravity could not constrain him! He moved like an enchanted zephyr, seeming to float above the polished floor! Women swooned at the sight, and the men could but try to conceal their chagrinned envy! Such was the perfection of his expression that the music seemed to flow from him, and not from the orchestra! Such grace! Such perfection of expression and such precision of terpsichoric synchronicity! Hubert, Bertie and I were simply spellbound every time our Furher took to the floor, as indeed was all of Europe!

Of course, Hitler had a phalanx of other talents besides his superhuman ability at dance, but as the darkening war clouds gathered, stern duty called him away from artistic pursuits and he began to devote his attention exclusively to the darker arts of war, arts at which he also excelled.

It is so sad that the tumult of the times never allowed our Furher to devote his tremendous talent and insight to the art of figure skating. I am near to tears each time I think of what might have been had not the vexing Jewish question, compounded by England's belligerence, demanded so much of our selflessly devoted Furher's time and attention!

But Churchill would not cease his bellicose ravings, and of course, the Jews and the homosexuals were simply bleeding the Fatherland white, so Hitler, being uniquely qualified among all the German Folk, was driven by none other than Destiny herself to take command of the world and to implement the mighty task of setting everything right again. So the Fatherland lost a great artist, but gained a great Furher! SEIG HEIL! SEIG HEIL!

2:46 PM  

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