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Dealing with Supervision Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 7:28 AM


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Peter Trevor (2/4/2013)
Many years ago I was in a team that had a manager who was prone to micro-manage. Usually we factored that in to our estimates but I remember once, when we were all under a tight deadline: We knew this guy had a thing about the smell of garlic, so at lunchtime we all bought Chicken Kiev and chips from a local vendor to eat at our desks. This was not planned in advance, there was no conspiracy, we all just happened to choose the same meal option. And as the aroma of garlic filled the open plan office, the manager was strangely absent for the rest of the day. We made the deadline.


Where's the 'Like' button on this page? :)


Hakim Ali
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Post #1415293
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 7:32 AM


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My experience has been that the best way for one to avoid micro-managment, at least the "hovering over your desk" variety, is to efectively manage oneself. After all, it's the squeaky wheel that tends to get the most grease.
Post #1415294
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 7:48 AM
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A colleague of mine had the same thing happen to him. He simply looked up at the manager and said "This is the part where you go get me some coffee".
Post #1415307
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 7:51 AM
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Gary Varga (2/4/2013)
I tend to find the biggest problem is when they do not accept the limitations of the situation. Particularly when you have highlighted the pertenant one(s) as issues before as there is sometimes the attitude of "you're only doing this so you can say 'I told you so'". As they never say this outright I cannot answer them with "No. I want to get the job done and would rather have done it by now and I raised it in the first place so I could NEVER say 'I told you so'".

It seems the most paranoid are...the most paranoid!!! Problems tend to be grief all round. I do find it insulting when people assume that you are making jobs harder than they really are.


Ugh, I've very recently come to know this whole problem far too well. Just two weeks back, I had to code up a new module for the inventory scanning process at my job. When it was finished, the whole thing ran rather slowly, unfortunately, because my predecessor here coded up a process that had to meld with mine, and that process used quite a bit of RBAR. I added on my functionality and determined that, while slow, it would be tolerable for a day or two while I puzzled out a solution to the RBAR.

Sadly, however, my supervisor was less than thrilled with the speed of the operation. I was chewed out, accused of deliberately sabotaging the process, and, ultimately, assigned to do the physical warehouse labor that the process was developed for. The first two were acceptable, since I really should've fixed the RBAR too (but given that my deadline was "today!", I didn't have the liberty of time), but that last one was just too much. Petty as it may be, I did the physical labor and just walked out for the day. The next day, being more cool-headed, I figured out a solution to the RBAR and the process sped up to be faster than it was originally.

The worst part was that my supervisor insisted throughout the entire thing that it wasn't the RBAR that was slowing everything down, but it was my code, which just did a simple SELECT for three columns for the item in question. Even though I explained that the process of sequentially looking through 27,000 records three times over for every item was going to be invariably slow, it didn't help my case. Oh well... I'm probably the type that can't stand being told that I'm doing something wrong when everything I've learned says otherwise, for better or worse




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Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 8:16 AM


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Alex Gay (2/4/2013)
I found an effective way was to ask "Don't you have coffee to drink?" knowing his mug was empty. "No" replied my boss, falling for my cunningly baited trap "I've drunk it all."
"Well you'd better make some more, this might take some time. And while your at it I'll one." I replied handing him my mug.

Result, I got rid of him for 5 minutes and get coffee! By the time he got back I knew what the problem was and so was a lot more relaxed and was able to tell him what the fix was and how long it would take.

If they are hovering, it usually means that they don't have anything to do, make something for them to do.


Good one. I've tried to be a gopher when I was a manager. Asking people what they need and getting it for them, including shoo-ing off other managers or directors.







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Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 8:32 AM
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hakim.ali (2/4/2013)
Peter Trevor (2/4/2013)
Many years ago I was in a team that had a manager who was prone to micro-manage. Usually we factored that in to our estimates but I remember once, when we were all under a tight deadline: We knew this guy had a thing about the smell of garlic, so at lunchtime we all bought Chicken Kiev and chips from a local vendor to eat at our desks. This was not planned in advance, there was no conspiracy, we all just happened to choose the same meal option. And as the aroma of garlic filled the open plan office, the manager was strangely absent for the rest of the day. We made the deadline.


Where's the 'Like' button on this page? :)


+1



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Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 8:50 AM


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DavidL (2/4/2013)
hakim.ali (2/4/2013)
Peter Trevor (2/4/2013)
Many years ago I was in a team that had a manager who was prone to micro-manage. Usually we factored that in to our estimates but I remember once, when we were all under a tight deadline: We knew this guy had a thing about the smell of garlic, so at lunchtime we all bought Chicken Kiev and chips from a local vendor to eat at our desks. This was not planned in advance, there was no conspiracy, we all just happened to choose the same meal option. And as the aroma of garlic filled the open plan office, the manager was strangely absent for the rest of the day. We made the deadline.


Where's the 'Like' button on this page? :)


+1


+2
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Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 8:52 AM


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Julie Breutzmann (2/4/2013)
DavidL (2/4/2013)
hakim.ali (2/4/2013)
Peter Trevor (2/4/2013)
Many years ago I was in a team that had a manager who was prone to micro-manage. Usually we factored that in to our estimates but I remember once, when we were all under a tight deadline: We knew this guy had a thing about the smell of garlic, so at lunchtime we all bought Chicken Kiev and chips from a local vendor to eat at our desks. This was not planned in advance, there was no conspiracy, we all just happened to choose the same meal option. And as the aroma of garlic filled the open plan office, the manager was strangely absent for the rest of the day. We made the deadline.


Where's the 'Like' button on this page? :)


+1


+2


Calm down folks otherwise it will cause an overflow error


Gaz

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Post #1415356
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 9:36 AM
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I have been there and have lived through it. It was part of the "proving myself" phase of the career and has not been a problem for decades. I think I finally came to understand how it really works.

Managers have learn quickly that things get done, they get done right, and they get done as quickly as I can make them happen. It is an issue of trust.

If they want to micromanage something that is fine, they are the manager. I know that certain things make managers uncomfortable, and they need those things to get done. Since that is the case, they are welcome to have meetings, visit me at the workstation, ask questions, email whatever. It is also their work, and their reputation on the line. We work together. They manage and I do the task. That is how it works.

I have to understand that certain things are important and managers will manage, and some will micromanage. It is something that comes with the job.


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Post #1415377
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 10:35 AM


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I read this piece on micro-managers once and always thought that it was spot on. Read on:

"A micromanager is one of the most frustrating and demoralizing forces in the workplace. He/she has to make all the decisions, set all the priorities, and do all the talking. He/she has to sign off on every document and communication emanating from his/her team and has to attend every meeting that anyone on his/her team attends. He/she makes sure the spotlight is always on him/her and is quick to accept credit for team accomplishments. He/she is just as quick to assign blame to some individual on his team when something doesn’t go exactly right. He/she wastes valuable time on activities that others can handle without him, while many of his/her real responsibilities get shortchanged.

One of the micromanager’s main concerns is self-promotion. Somewhere in his/her past, he/she was woefully misinformed that a management role was an opportunity to gain personal recognition for work done by others. To justify this recognition, he/she supervises work needlessly or invades meetings where he/she isn’t needed, all to put his/her thumbprint somewhere on the project."


Personally, I have both worked with and for a few of these type of people in the past and I will bet that a lot of people here can name at least one person like this as well. Micromanagers most fear losing control, so they over compensate by contolling everyone and everything little thing in their department. Control is an illusion. The more you think you are in control, you eventually seem to find out how much is actually not in your control.


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