Does Your Boss Like to do Your Job?


By John Riley

 These days, it is not surprising to find someone who has a boss that does her job for her.  Most people would call that micro-managing  and attribute it to insecurity brought about by a fear of making a mistake or having one’s subordinate make a mistake during these uncertain times.  I think it’s more complex than that.

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While insecurity is certainly one factor at play here, there is a professional element as well. I’m talking about the person who is a perfectionist and feels that their subordinates do not share the same attitude toward their work. As result, the fear comes from concern a subordinate might make a mistake and the lack of professionalism would reflect on the supervisor.

 Another possibility that fosters micro-managers is a greater feeling of power.  It probably stems from their feeling that what got them promoted was what they should do as a supervisor except to a greater degree.  That produces a doer rather than a manager and has its own set of problems.

 Unfortunately, whatever the reason, employees resent micro-managing bosses.  And why not?  It shows little respect for the subordinate, prevents their professional development and provides no chance for recognition.  Yet, management seems to tolerate such behavior because the work gets done.

 A common management  justification is, “we’ll deal with it after we get through this difficult period”, but that never seems to happen.   A micro-manager response is, “if I don’t control everything, something bad will happen because my people aren’t up to speed yet”.

 Most observers offer advice to the suffering employees when it is the supervisor that should be dealt with.  Specifically, management should add a remedial action item to the supervisor’s job goals after discussing it with him, the supervisor should be sent to a Manager training program, and he should be scheduled for a performance review in six months.  If, after these three steps, the supervisor’s behavior has not changed, management should find a non-managerial position for him.

 Does your boss like to do your job?   If so, leave a copy of this article near the copy machine.

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