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Weekly Epiphany

So I wanted to pen an idea that came to me.

How to manage a micro-manager???

So, I came to realize that the most difficult thing to do is keep up with not the tasks or assignments but rather the overhead that is accompanying post tasks.  Typically I find this is what micro-mangers do, which causes those that are task doers and completers to get derailed.  In so doing, the performance of the task doer is interrupted and is then the focus is altered to focus completely on meeting the administrative overhead to supply the micro-manager information.  Typically this information isn't in a format that is easily synthesized by the requester and therefore it is asked for in multiple formats (more overhead).  As I was thinking this through it hit me like a brick.  This person whether they realize it or not uses this method not in an effort to besiege the task completer rather it is to contain them.  What i mean is as follows, the micro-manager employs a technique in a manner to dis-allow the task completer to rise to the same level or past.  This may be an active desire or completely unknown to the micro-manager.  At this point i am not attempting to engage what the intent is. more or less just identifying the actual technique and how to overcome it.

The Micro-manager uses the saturation of information requests to keep the task completer at bay or in chaos trying to identify methods to overcome the overload.  This methodology is very astute.  The micro-manager typically also starts this overload prior to tasks being completed or creating multiple tasks in parallel which provides a further layer of protection from the task completer identifying the tactics being used.  This dis-allows the completer to identify strong methods to over come this tactic.  however, from an information sharing standpoint, the major goal of the completer should only be to provide the information fast enough that the tables turn.  Let me explain.

In modern project management an array of communication tools often exist.  It is my experience that the micro-managers insert themselves in the middle at times saying that they dis-like the information sharing tool or mechanism.  Why is this, the information overload is bearing back at them.  It wasn't as often apparent using only email as many messages and communication become so fragmented, the chaos created also create overhead and that kept the task completer buried in trying to keep up with the information overload.  Now on to the epiphany.

What we are truly seeking, at least me is to get the micro-manager off/away from me completing tasks in a timely manner.  To do this, I am using the communication tool that is provided by my company.  this is a project management and tracking tool.  It also contains tools that allow task management, project planning and reporting (Business information metrics) to report on success/failure and value it provides.  Now, this is where I suggest flipping the equation.  I provide incremental updates that are on-going during the task.  Some of these updates are short and quick, some describe more detail, but in the end the information is provided prior to the micro-mangers requesting it.  In fact because of this pro-active approach, the micro-mangers have tended to request this model (ok, if you say so).  this is when I opened the flood gates.  this allowed me the opportunity to supply information in a clear and concise format.  This information overload to the micro-manager then turns them into having to synthesize the information, often times with out the tacit skills required to decode the information that was sent to them in plain english.  The beauty in this model is the micro-manager nows has to manage the information overload and further also synthesizing the information correctly to their peers and colleagues.  Although this should not be the main reason that we do this, it sure does feel nice to provide a little 'take-that' when you are a task completer or lowly subject matter expert (SME).  Now the SME is positioned to be allowed to participate in providing information the micro-manager isn't able to provide b/c the equation has been altered and they no longer have the cushion of time to synthesize information to at least make them tenable because the SME is overloaded in providing information.

So there you have it.  I had this epiphany and employed my tactics.  They worked beautifully.  Also note, that I am currently involved in the interviewing process to attract professionals that I am qualified to identify specifically whether the person is qualified or not.  Now the ironic thing for me is I returned to being a task completer and SME instead of being a 'laissez-faire' Associate Director.  That being said it is nice to return to some of the aspects that I do enjoy.  During this epiphany I also had the opportunity to be a consultant and have a major break through with my current clients.  This method and technique allowed me to have enough time to manage my client so much that I was able to demand their attention, provide them with accurate information and we were able to see them engaged in a very positive manner.  This situation made me very grateful to finally have this breakthrough.

Anyway, i wanted to post this information here so that if I do ever get pen to paper for and to help my wife's ambition for me to pen two books.  One of which will chronicle some of my airport and traveling experiences (Fly and the Windscreen) and another one that would be about how we can change things in Education (learning, for the previously Educated).  Who knows if i will get to it or not and make it worthwhile and format it in a manner that others will not only buy it, but use the free-advice that will be included and use what is good for them and discard what they may not need.

Methinks this is a heft enough post for now and I have summarized my major points.  I will admit that i will need to experiment and refine my ideas so that things may be better explained and usable.  So this may be an interesting journey.  Time will tell.



After the original post, these interesting articles have been published by other sources:
1.  http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/story/2012-06-16/cnbc-treat-a-terrible-boss-like-a-toddler/55550974/1
2. http://lifehacker.com/5926662/treat-a-bad-boss-like-a-toddler

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