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How to Deal with a Micromanaging Boss

not just a small manager...Having a micromanaging boss seems to be a huge problem if I should believe statistics based on visitors to my blog. 20 % of all search engine traffic uses keywords related to micromanagement, which indicates that this really is a problem in the office. It is interesting to see that most common search phrases are probably written by employees looking for a solution to their unbearable work environments. But I do not see any phrases related to managers looking for a solution to their problems? Do they even know that they are micromanaging?

Two older posts about micromanagement.

About a year ago I wrote two “best selling” blog posts about Micromanagement. They have been read by more than 14.000 people and are the most read blog posts at my blog, and they are still popular. So having a micromanaging manager seems to still be a problem. I wrote one about dealing with micromanagement and one about consequences of micromanagement. Enjoy.


But where are you micromanager?

These two blog posts are read by employees tired of your detail oriented rule. But how do we get managers to seek help for their behavior? And is micromanagement all bad?
I once had a manager that ...


Recognition, Total Rewards, Global Programs, Silo Thinking & More

Contributions on other sites this month you may be interested in – click through for the full stories.

Compensation Cafe: 3 Reasons Why Recognition Is a Powerful Component of Total Rewards (July 20)

Taking my inspiration from an interview with Exelon Corporation CEO John W. Rowe, I give three reasons why employee rewards should be included in a total rewards program:

  1. Recognition and reward reinforce desired messages more frequently and more clearly.
  2. Specific recognition based on company values – encouraged and sponsored by the CEO – extends the CEO’s ability to influence thousands of individuals.
  3. Regular reinforcement of key values through recognition is more effective than waiting to do so through a promotion.

Compensation Cafe: Balancing Process and Outcomes – How “Silo” Thinking Can End Up Rewarding the Wrong Thing (July 11)

Organizations that implement employee recognition and reward programs usually do so with the best of intentions. However, company leaders and HR pros must think through possible scenarios to be sure they are rewarding the right things. Avoiding silo creation and balancing process and outcomes are the two critical areas to ...


Does Your Team Have A Visionist?

I met a visionist this week.

Teaching "Building Productive Teams" for one of my clients this week, I gave them several team projects to undertake that would translate back to their work in the organization.

One of the assignments was the classic "team shield" exercise. The task was to create a shield that depicts the team's mission (what we do), vision (what we aspire to), and values (what we stand for). They were free to use words and pictures.

In one of the four teams, an Operations member named James stepped up to the task of drawing the team's ideas on a flipchart. To everyone's surprise, James had a talent, a real visual flair, both in printing letters and in drawing images such as a sword, a bow and arrow, a mountain range, and a sunrise. His drawing reflected the input of his whole team, but the end result stood apart from the other three teams in visual splendor.

You could see that he felt very good about what he had contributed. And his team positively beamed as they displayed their flipchart to the others in the room.

Part of the assignment was to include the names of each team member, and next to each name a word or words to describe the strengths ...

Learning is social, Design is not

Here are some of the things that were shared via Twitter this past week.

@jonhusband – “Noticed in office … article titled “Learning Is Social, Training Is Irrelevant” .. from Training Magazine, November 1997 … yes, 1997 ;-)

Jack and Marilyn Whalen, the IRL researchers contracted by Xerox to advise it on the ICS project, suggested that training need not take a full year; that it could, in fact, be dramatically shortened. How? By moving the service reps out of their isolated cubicles and bringing them together in shared work spaces, where a group of six or seven ICS staffers would be in constant contact with one another. In this communal environment, the workers would teach each other how to do their respective jobs; sales reps would share what they knew about selling, service reps what they knew about service and so on. And one other thing . . . the ICS workers would take customer calls from day one, putting into practice what they learned as soon as they learned it.

The response to this proposal from the corporate training unit back in Leesburg was a long, anguished wail that could be heard all the way to Texas. But Cheryl Thomas, the manager tapped to head up the ICS ...


Jobs, Taxes, and Deficits

Credit: © liquidlibrary/Jupiterimages

In 2001 the Congressional Budget Office projected that by 2011 the U.S. government would be in the black by $2.3 trillion. This April the Pew Fiscal Analysis Institute published “The Great Debt Shift” to analyze the main triggers over the past ten years for the current massive federal deficit of over $14 trillion. It concludes that revenues were 28 percent less than were projected. Unemployment has both reduced federal tax revenues and lead to huge increases in unemployment insurance payments. In comparison, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan contributed 10 percent to the deficit and the Obama stimulus packages 6 percent.

We all know that ever rising levels of education have been critical to the success of the United States. One piece of the solution to federal deficit crisis is to create incentives to encourage businesses to provide additional training and education to fill current and future vacant jobs.

One prominent means for accomplishing this is changing U.S. accounting rules so that companies will have the option of capitalizing employee training and education investments, rather than treating them as an immediate ...


The Integrated HR Exec

If you’re an HR pro who wants to succeed in the top HR spot, I’ve got two pieces of advice for you: Move and connect.

That is, move around inside HR, even if you’re spectacularly good in one area, such as recruitment or compensation or training and development. And frequently connect with other functional experts in your organization.

Here’s why: A recently published ASTD report that I co-authored looked at which organizational positions are primarily responsible for executing  the nine key components  of integrated talent management (ITM) systems. We found that HR execs are the organizational members most likely to responsible for six of the nine components:

  1. High-potential employee development
  2. Performance management
  3. Recruitment / selection
  4. Employee engagement
  5. Compensation & rewards
  6. Succession planning

By gaining experience in or acquiring deep knowledge of these six areas (as well as in leadership development, employee learning, and individual development), HR professionals put themselves in a much better position to succeed as an HR executive. They are also better able to lead ITM programs at a time when two other crucial ...


While Washington Fiddles, U.S. Dropouts Burn

A U.S. debt crisis threatens to paralyze our government and disrupt the global economy.  But despite all the political posturing, the impasse will end sooner or later. 

What won’t end - and regrettably will get far worse due to budget cuts and falling revenues - is a high school dropout that is both discouraging and depressing.  Each year nearly four million kids begin ninth grade.  Nearly 1 million of them don't make it to graduation. That’s nearly one out of every four students fail to graduate. A fifth of schools identified by the U.S. Department of Education are identified as "dropout factories," where no more than 50 percent of students graduate.

The impact of the decision to leave school is lifelong, not only for the dropout but for every taxpayer. Dropouts are more likely to commit crimes, abuse drugs and alcohol, become teenage parents, live in poverty and commit suicide. Dropouts cost federal and state governments hundreds of billions of dollars in lost earnings, welfare and medical costs, and billions more for dropouts who end up in prison. Estimates of these costs run as high as 320 to 350 billion dollars.

Despite the staggering rate and ...


The New Capitalist Manifesto

“This book is more than a manifesto, it’s a blueprint for building the sort of twenty-first-century company that will be loved by its customers, envied by its peers, and admired by all those who care about the future of our planet,” says Gary Hamel in the introduction to this short tome by economist Umair Haque.

I agree wholeheartedly with Hamel that “The legacy model of economic production that has driven the ‘modern’ economy forward over the last hundred years is on its last legs. Like a piece of clapped-out equipment, it’s held together with bailing wire and duct tape, is grossly inefficient and spews out clouds of noxious fumes.” This is ground zero for the 21C project. The 21st century is a new ballgame and the old rules of engagement are obsolete.

Haque likens the 20th century to a limitless game reserve; corporations could hunt with abandon. The 21st century is more like an ark; resources are limited. “Prosperity on an ark depends first on minimizing economic harm, because every cost you shift and benefit you borrow result in permanent perhaps irreplaceable loss, with unpredictable chains of consequences.” The problem is “using rules built for hunting to manage an ark, ...


Learning = Experience-Performance-Reflection

The above diagram, by Nick Milton, shows some important aspects of what influences performance [hint: blue]. First, knowledge is the result of information (e.g. learning content) AND experience. Knowledge is directly influenced by one’s own experience. Therefore there is no such thing as “knowledge transfer“. Second, performance is taking action on knowledge. This is what is evident to others in the workplace. They observe what we do. It’s not what we know that is important to others, but what we do with it. In the workplace, what we do with knowledge is usually in a social context. This influences the third key point, that reflection of one’s performance is an important part of the learning process and this is often in a social context as well. Learning from what others do is the foundation of Albert Bandura’s social learning theory:

“Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later ...


Hiring illegal workers


Prominent reporter Jose Antonia Vargas (@joseiswriting) recently confessed, via an in-depth article in The New York Times Magazine, that for the past 18 years he has lived and worked in the United States as an illegal immigrant.

Vargas’ goal was to spark discussion about immigration issues, and to promote the DefineAmerican campaign. Much of the reaction, however, has centered on the issues of risk and liability for his current and past employers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and The New York Times.

Should employers, whether they’re deceived or fail to be diligent, be sanctioned by the government for hiring illegal workers?

Regardless of your moral or justice stance, the fact is that in The United States, the large majority of employers of illegal aliens are never fined or prosecuted.

The illegal workforce represents approximately 9% of American GDP, and is a significant source of unskilled labour, particularly in the restaurant and construction industries. Some surveys ...