Abdication management

Micromanagement is underrated … By Travis Bradberry via forbes.com   Article

“People who accused their bosses of micromanaging seemed to do so as a permanent insult more than a mere suggestion for change. It was the organizational equivalent of being labeled a Neanderthal, or a corporate version of being politically incorrect. Micromanagers were assumed to be insecure and distrustful, so no one wanted to have that label applied to them.

To make matters worse, being called a micromanager was almost indefensible; if an employee felt that they were being micromanaged, those feelings had to be validated and addressed. …

It might be tempting to think ‘what’s the big deal?’ Well, there was an unintended consequence to this micromanagement witch-hunt, one that had a chilling effect on leaders that continues today. See, the pendulum swung far away from micromanagement and seemed to get stuck on the opposite end of the spectrum, in a place I’ll call ‘abdication management.’

Today, for every real micromanager I come across, especially at the top of organizations, there are dozens of abdication managers. These are the people who know little about what their direct reports are working on, and defend their approach by citing their own busy schedules, or worse yet, by proudly using words like trust, autonomy and empowerment. Unfortunately, the results of abdication management are consistent: a lack of necessary guidance, delays in recognizing problems, stunted professional development of key people and anxiety among employees. The consequences of this on the bottom line of an organization are not hard to imagine. …

Management of direct reports is too often seen as a remedial activity, reserved for employees without experience, rather than an essential requirement for providing order and clarity for people at every level of an organization. The nature of how people are managed will certainly vary depending on a person’s role and level of maturity, but managing them is never optional, and the consequences of neglecting it are always serious. …

None of this is to say that true micromanagement is a good thing. But I’m convinced that most companies would be far better served if their leaders walked a little closer toward the micromanagement end of the spectrum than the abdication end.”

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