The Micromanager

Another update from the jungle…

MicroMan 1Sarah joined the company as an experienced lateral hire.  She was attracted to the company after they offered her a chance to use her diverse experience. Sarah likes variety because she’s easily bored by routine. She bailed out of several previous jobs when they became boring.  Now she does all the special projects for her new employer and each day offers a new challenge. She likes everything about her job except her boss, Dean.

Dean is the second most dreaded type of boss: the micromanager.  The most dreadful managerial sort, of course, is the psycho boss.  Dean can’t just assign a project to Sarah. He spends half an hour explaining in detail how he would complete the project. Then he tells Sarah to use her own judgment.

Sarah has high personal standards which require her to thoroughly research an issue before making recommendations. She is also a perfectionist and agonizes over each memo and report to ensure that the information is accurate and the words are clear and concise.  Then Dean ruins it.MicroMan 2

As her boss, Dean wants to see Sarah’s written memos and reports before they are sent on to the senior management team. Sarah understands the need for quality control but he’s a micromanager and he can’t resist meddling.  His review of her first report for the higher ups resulted in a sea of red ink. Dean had revised the entire report.

Sarah stared at her destroyed sentences and asked Dean why he had changed it. He said he thought it read better with the changes. Sarah pointed out that all the changes were stylistic. Essentially, he had re-written her report to reflect his more verbose style of writing. Dean smiled and assured Sarah that things would change as he became familiar with the quality of her work.

Of course, nothing changes. As the months pass, Sarah’s frustration grows. She daydreams of beating Dean senseless with his own laptop computer or forcing him to listen to rap music.  She discreetly asks the HR director to transfer her to a different manager but is told such a move is impossible.

What options are available to Sarah?

  1. She can continue hoping that Dean’s management style will change.
  2. She can continue objecting to Dean’s management style, which is contributing to a perception that she’s bitchy and not a team player.
  3. She can do the minimum necessary to earn her paycheck while she looks for another employer.

In the actual situation, the subordinate eventually found a new employer where her new boss wasn’t a micromanager.


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