What’s worse than a micromanager?

Most of you have a picture that comes to mind when you hear the term micromanager.  Words I think of when I hear this label include the following:

  • directing
  • lack of empowerment
  • no delegation
  • low morale
  • frustration
  • distrust

I have worked with micromanagers in my career and I see one often when I look in the mirror, meaning myself.  I started my career as a subject matter expert and was promoted to the role of supervisor and then manager of managers before I took a career change and became an entrepreneur.  I can honestly say that managing others was never one of my strong points, but I do enjoy coaching others much more.  In many cases I can site my own shortcomings in providing insight to those I coach, especially with my Vistage work.

A picomanager is the most challenging type of micromanager.  What you ask makes a picomanager worse than a micromanager?  Let me explain:

Micro means 1/1000th

Pico means 1/1,000,000th

Essentially, a picomanager is 1000 times worse than a micromanager, but let’s not get hung up on the math involved.  Let’s do focus more on what makes someone that unique type of micromanager that is 1000 times worse.  Here are some examples:

  • A CEO who insists on approving the pay increase for every employee, even the part timers
  • A senior manager who insists in making all decisions, even those that could obviously be handled at lower levels
  • A person who is not open to feedback from anyone who does not have an equal or superior level in the organization

If you aren’t scared yet, you should be, because the impact of the picomanager is troublesome.  Picomanagers squeeze the life out of your organization and their impact can include some, if not all, of the following

  • low morale
  • lack of trust
  • disintegrating culture
  • high turnover
  • frustration

There are things you can do to combat the picomanager and I’ll speak to some of these in my next post.  What commonly happens is that those who have to withstand the picomanager withhold their opinions in fear of being reprimanded if not fired.  Many in picomanaged organizations also update their resumes and look for an exit at the earliest opportunity.

I’ll be back next week with strategies you can use to combat picomanagers.