Hello All,

I am a fairly young manager, but I think I am at least a "good" manager b/c at my core I care about all of my DRs (7 currently) and show that every chance I get!  Lots of public praise, private "course correction" if/when needed, free flowing info in general and in our O3s and good friendly relationship. 

Now i am hearing rumblings during one of my O3s that people think i am micromanaging.  Here is the situation, my guys are well-paid advanced technology integrators and outsourced IT people.  We service small-medium sized businesses and thus my position is the head of the functional part of the company that provides all of our services. 

I am the follow up/email king (or nazi?)...i require well documented follow-ups and follow-through from everyone.  I have several different mechanisms to manage the MASSIVE amounts of things going on from on-going one-off support issues to the 3/4 of a million in projects that were going on in December alone.  I use the follow-up tag on my emails, structured notes from cadence meetings and a paper-list to keep me in line and organized.  What this means for my guys is that if i look at a follow up item and i have nothing back, i follow-up again.  I guess they are taking this as nagging or micro-managing??

There is a LOT of automony in their positions.  They essentially manage their own schedules and have minimal administrative tasks to perform on a daily/weekly basis.  I rarely tell them HOW to do their jobs (unless necessary as i am also a senior technical resource).

What am I missing here?  I'm always trying to work on being able to read people, motivate them based on their needs, and keep myself sane while making sure they are fulfilled and being productive for the company.

Is this just a nature of the beast/workplace thing that is groupthink that will happen anywhere or does it sound to anyone that i'm actually doing something wrong?

I'm going to take the info i got from my DR that told me this and use it to explain to each DR in our next O3 why i follow-up the way i do and get their input on what they think (if they will share it)...good idea? any other thoughts?  I also don't want to cave just b/c the masses don't agree with how I do things...

Thanks in advance all!


Singers's picture

Hi JC,

Sounds familiar, I used to get the same sort of comments and for me this was a lot down to lack of delegation. Since I have learned delegating even some of the "follow up" that you do to others. This also makes the guys in the team communicate together more and put more pressure on them to work together on all our goal's rather then the one's I have with them individually.

Overall though, DISC was the wake up call for me, if you have done much in it yet, give it a shot!

Kind Regards
Mads Sorensen
Disc 4536

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Mads makes some good points, and what you are doing is completely reasonable and appropriate. I recommend you continue doing what you're doing.

I don't know what specifically you mean by grumbling, but the mind of follow up you're doing seems fine. LOTS of tech experts bristle at normal
Management practices... They've probably had bad managers before who didn't manage them at all.

Be nice, don't stand over them... But follow up is reasonable.

And there's a cast about the assignment of work INHERENTLY including the reporting of that work too...


bug_girl's picture

That doesn't sound like the type of micromanagement that I've experienced--I'd tend to agree with Mark and Mads.

A lot of what makes people grumble about "micromanagement" is that directs feel like they are not trusted to be competent and complete tasks on their own.   Their perception may not match your reality.

You might try clarifying where you are coming from in terms of your trying to manage many projects flying by your desk daily--and that you are following up to check things off your list, not that you don't trust them to complete things successfully.


(the token hi S, addressing feelings ;p )


mdave's picture

The cast about delegating reporting as part of the assignment was a watershed event for me.  It was a huge "well, duh" moment.  The bulk of the micromanaging activity that I was engaged in was following up on reporting. I was even asking myself "is this micromanaging?" and answering was that it probably was is but I needed confirmation that it is done. Some of my staff felt that I did not trust* them (usually where their perception did not meet my reality) and some seem to enjoy initiating opportunity to talk about or  email their results. It's been one of the biggest effectiveness improvements that I (and my subordinate supervisors) have implemented... I have found it to be a far better way to get even better results....

* The trust issue was prevalent when I was having to hunt them down. Now that I am not, that aspect seem to have improved as well.

jg407's picture

I really appreciate everyone's input!  I have to stop second guessing myself...I guess to this day I still have not been "managed" so its hard to tell whats right/wrong sometimes.  

On another note, I can't tell you how much I appreciate these forums! I found MT in 2009 just by chance, went on my own dime to Atlanta for the MT Conference (boss didnt see the value, oh well for him) and have learned SO much!!

The resources that Mark and Mike provide as well as the amazing people who follow and share on the forums is priceless!

Thanks again folks!


Singers's picture

Sounds good JG, best piece of advise is Listen to the Cast's and ask if there's anything you havent got your answer to ;)

Have a nice day ;)

Kind Regards
Mads Sorensen
Disc 4536

ashdenver's picture

One of the things I shared with my former team when we had our first meeting (my first day on the job) was that I don't enjoy chasing things down anymore than they would probably enjoy hearing from me repeatedly so it's in their own best interest to pro-actively keep me informed. 

As I got to know them, all but one of them had kids and I could reinforce the point that way.  "You probably don't like having to tell Timmy to pick up his toys forty-seven times before he actually does it, right?  Same thing for me - I don't want to have to show up in your Inbox any more than is absolutely necessary.  The best way to keep me out of your hair is fly under my radar by doing the follow-up on your own.  Make sense?"

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Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Good thread!

Let me also politely say that we never recommend any comparisons between managing and parenting.  Directs REALLY don't like it.  Regardless of the subtlety, the comparison seems to grate.


RaisingCain's picture

You asked, what am I missing? Here is what I see. It seems to me that you are trying to manage everyone the same way. So, which are you managing, the process, projects, or the people (aka. relationships)? If you apply the same techniques across the board for all people then you are going to end up applying the wrong one somewhere. My guess would be that the people that are grumbling about micro-management are the ones where your current approach is ineffective for them.