Tuesday, July 28, 2009

MBWA, Micromangement and the difference between the two

Following a recent post entitled "Management by NOT Wandering Around", I received the following comment:
Results results results
The stress of the current economic reality is driving our lean program into the ground. The boss is being beaten up daily by his bosses to show some kind of ROI on everything we do. So, instead of patiently watching as we are learning, we run around looking for any signs of measurement that can relieve the pain. Frankly, I would just as soon have him go back to management by teleconference
Ouch. It hurts to hear this.
This got me thinking about the difference between simply being visible and available in the workplace (which should be encouraging) versus micromanaging (which is quite demotivating).  And, having been micromanaged myself on a particular issue in the past few days, I feel the pain. 
Available listens; micromanagement talks.
Available encourages improvement; micromanagement demands instant results.
Available shows up regularly; micromanagement appears only during crisis.
Available shapes; micromanagement pounds.
Micromanagement often gets the short-term results it wishes, much as the whining child will often get the ice-cream cone.  But that's no basis for raising a family nor for running a lean operation.
Keep on learning. 


Brian Buck said...

I love the distinctions you make between being available and micromanaging. They provide a great barometer for actions and intent from leadership.

My favorite is "Available shapes; micromanagement pounds". I am working with a client who wants to engineer their department. Your quote rings very true.

Great post Joe!

Thomas O'Meara said...

This seems like a classic example of introducing "Muri", or unreasonableness, into a process. If a form of waste was identified, and your test demonstrated that the improvement\countermeasure addressed the waste in the manner predicted, then what else needs to be proved?

Everyone in the organization should remain conscious of how easy it is to introduce waste, particularly management. We, as managers, need to remember that our voices tend to carry far, and may produce unintended consequences. It is the same with everyone in the organization. No person can predict everything that can result from a directive they issue. That is why we need to remain open to feedback, and actively look for the "Muri" we produce.

PM Hut said...

Micromanagement is one of the worst management methods, it's demotivating, it's insulting (to the resources), and it makes your employees dependent on your constant presence to get things done.

Here's a recent article I've published on micromanagement, Are You Micromanaging Your Way to Project Failure?. Hope you'll get the chance to read it.