No one enjoys being micromanaged, at least not anyone who takes pride in what they do. If you’ve recently been approached with an attractive job offer but don’t know how to decide, make sure to read this article on micromanagement before continuing.
For seniors or anyone with a solid work experience, you will know the invaluable importance of an empowering senior and or management. In a recent Ted talk, Chieh Huang, co-founder and CEO of Boxed.com talks about micromanagement, more specifically, he talks about recovering from being a micromanager.
In the Ted talk he shares his view of why he and other people end up being micromanagers. The idea is quite straightforward.
People who are good at doing their work are usually rewarded with… more work. Pretty soon, these people who are good at doing the work gets recognised and promoted to doing some work while managing the people doing the work. Not long after, they become the people managing the people doing the work, and for Huang, it is at this point when people lose control over the output of their jobs, becoming micromanagers.
Source: Dilbert by Scott Adams
Micromanagement Lowers Employee Engagement
By now most people agree that micromanagement is bad and damages company culture, but why?
A major reason according to Psychology Today is because long-term micromanagement squashes autonomy, a primary motivator of employees and something that keeps them engaged at work.
On top of that, micromanagement encroaches on employee growth and creativity by restricting an individual’s freedom to learn and expand. According to a study by TINYpulse, micromanagement has a positive relationship with high turnover rates, finding that 28% of employees were more likely to consider changing jobs when they were regularly being micromanaged.
Deciding on an Offer That Won’t Burn You Out
With the current candidate driven market in Hong Kong and across Asia, it is likely that you were recently contacted by a recruiter or headhunter with an attractive offer. As someone with experience, you know that more than the salary and benefits package, a great role is one that will allow you to grow as an individual.
Want to find a role that won't suck in the long run? A quick search online for “job interview tips” and “signs of micromanagement” will give you a list of articles on how to spot a micromanager, and they usually boil down to a few key points.
- Gut feel
- People looking miserable
- The boss was downright rude
But how practical are these tips really when you’re in a professional setting, such as that of a job interview where both parties are most likely to be in their best behaviour (especially when you’re a key hire)?
In fact, we argue that instead of taking the loss aversion approach of trying to spot a “bad” micromanager, the more useful solution would be finding a “great” manager who you’ll want to work with for a long time coming.
4 Ways to Identifying a Great Boss & Working Environment
Research by Google identifying the dynamics of workplace effectiveness revealed 5 key components to an effective team listed below in order of importance.
- Psychological Safety
- Structure & Clarity
Comparing findings and observations from Google with what Huang shared, we found 4 signature markers of a great leader.
1. They are good communicators
Communication is key, and when it breaks down, it can be one of the most frustrating things for an employee. When you’re in the interview room, take note of the interviewer’s communication style. How well are they communicating their vision and are they taking the time to listen to your response. If they’re rambling on without slowing down to listen to pay attention, then this may be a potential red light.
2. Invests in people’s individual growth
A good leader is someone who genuinely cares about their subordinates and this should extend to you, their potential hire. How interested are they towards you as an individual beyond the spec sheet of accomplishments listed in your CV?
Leaders who are invested in people will think not only about how well a candidate can complete the team, they’ll also consider the cultural and career fit and whether the job opportunity will allow for individual growth.
3. Has a clear vision and strategy
Great leaders have a destination in mind. Not only should they have a clear vision and strategy themselves, they should also be able to relay their vision to their subordinates. To lead means the leader themselves need to have a realistic expectation of what is needed to execute the strategy and each member's role in the outcome. By having a clear vision and strategy, leaders can set clear expectations, promoting an accountable environment of dependability.
4. Shows trust & credits subordinates
Lastly, ask them about their team and accomplishments. Great leaders and managers are ones who trust their team, this means giving them the flexibility to try different things and giving credit where credit is due. Quoting the words of Simon Sinek:
“It is a leader’s job instead to take responsibility for the success of each member of his crew. It is the leader’s job to ensure that they are well trained and feel confident to perform their duties. To give them responsibility and hold them accountable to advance the mission.”
Think long term
More than just the salary and benefits, think long term especially when you have the benefit of choice with a few career accomplishments under your belt. Take the time to evaluate your offer and your potential colleagues (the people you'll face day in day out) as they can make a world of a difference.
Learn to ask the right questions
Correct your mindset, know that the interview process is one that goes both ways. Take the opportunity to ask the right questions that'll help you better evaluate the cultural fit of the opportunity.
Careful to fall into the micromanagement trap
When leaders lose grasp of control, they sometimes resort to micromanagement. Be careful not to fall into the same trap of micromanaging your subordinates, and running the risk of driving out your best talent.
Are you passionate about your career and interested in seeing what opportunities are be out there? Get connected with one of our consultants today to find the next step in your career.
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