Has remote working surfaced any micromanagement issues within your organization?

1.2k views6 Comments

CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
We were asked to fill out a matrix to indicate the hours when people will be in the office. I said that if you go as far as telling people that they have to work a 40-hour week, guess what people are going to do? They're going to work a 40-hour week and no more. Because I know if it were me, you'd only get 40 hours. At 5:01PM I'm not reading that email; it'll wait until 8:30AM the next day because that's the next time I'm on. I don't know if that's the culture that anyone wants to drive, or a practice that we're trying to impact.
SVP in Finance (non-banking), 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I've found that the issue of micromanagement comes from immature management, which tends to be frontline management. You have these first time managers overseeing your workforce and reporting into upper management, and while the strategy or objectives might be clearly defined and rational at the top level, oftentimes they don't sufficiently flow through the different levels. It shows that organizations are not doing a good job of training frontline managers on how to manage people. Instead they default to old tactics: focusing on people being in their seats, the number of tickets or code reviews, etc. These arbitrary stats mean nothing in today's world and that bad practice continues to evolve, which creates a lot of frustration for people on the front lines actually doing the work.

Organizations need to think about how they are promoting people to the management level and what type of coaching, mentoring or training are they doing. Because they are often first-time managers, you need to make sure their management style aligns with the company's culture—whether it's micromanagement or not. That's an element I felt strongly about when I was building a culture. I spent a lot more time with my frontline managers than with anyone else to ensure they absorbed what my philosophy was in terms of managing and coaching.
2 2 Replies
CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

The retort to that is: how much responsibility falls on your plate as the IT leader to spend more of your time on coaching your direct reports—and to some extent, your organization—to lend that credence and guidance?

SVP in Finance (non-banking), 1,001 - 5,000 employees

A lot of the responsibility is on you as the IT leader. I think that's the leader's job—you don't need a domain expert, you need that person. The leader's job is to do exactly as you described.

Advisor | Investor | Former CIO in Services (non-Government), Self-employed
No matter what industry they’re in, very few companies actually do a top notch job of developing management. Very few companies do, if we're being truly honest about it. I think the way we compensate for that is through observation. The best manager I ever had, I worked with for nine years and we never had a formal one-on-one. I learned through observing how he operated in situations that I knew I would have to deal with at some point in my career. Unfortunately, we've lost that capability to observe because we're in this two-dimensional world.

I would be the first to confess that if my ability to learn management from others was through Zoom alone, I would be missing the opportunity to truly develop all those interpersonal skills that are so crucial to be effective. The most important job of any manager is to be the best possible role model they can be to their staff and to the rest of the organization. It's very difficult to be that role model virtually. It's different but it is harder.
1 1 Reply
Director Business Technology in Software, 10,001+ employees

That’s a really good point. It is absolutely harder not only to be a role model, but to influence and coach staff, as well as build relationships.


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