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Ever had a boss who was a micromanager? Boy I sure have! Micromanagers, it seems to me, have real control issues. They think because they know the job best they might as well do it, as opposed to training someone else how to perform the given task. It’s true that it WILL take someone longer to train someone to do something than it will for you to simply do the job, but consider:

1) How can a micromanager keep from getting burned out if he or she is not delving out at least some of their work?
2) How can the employee learn if he or she isn’t given some new tasks from time to time?
3) If the micromanager feels he/she simply HAS to do the task, isn’t that essentially saying the employee isn’t trusted to do it? And if so, why was this person hired in the first place?!

I worked for a micromanager at a newspaper in northern Wisconsin many years ago, and bosssince he took on so much, my workload wasn’t bad… but it proved to be a little too easy as I just wasn’t learning anything new. That leads to boredom, which meant looking for a new job.

But I’ve found the opposite isn’t necessarily a good thing either. Compared to being second-guessed and overruled at every turn, even after you know your job enough to do it well, the autonomy a hands-off manager gives you is pretty darn nice. You’re largely free to do your job as you see fit, and the boss tends to leave you pretty much alone. Terrific, right? For a while, yes it sure is! The problem with this type of manager is that by being a little TOO hands off, he or she really has little idea what goes into your job and that isn’t good either. You’re not likely to get the support you need because this type of boss is so removed from day-to-day tasks that he or she just doesn’t “get it.”

Hands-off bosses are also less likely to conduct regular staff meetings, place phone calls to see how you’re doing, etc. Since so many managers are “meeting happy” not wasting time in weekly gatherings seems to be a good thing … at first. But when you don’t hold them AT ALL these type of bosses quickly lose track of what’s going on, and all sorts of miscommunication and misgivings arise. In fact, without regular communication, certain jobs may not get done!

So the moral of the story is: While you might have a micromanaging, extremely “hands-on” type of boss and you crave for more autonomy instead of having to have every letter “I” dotted and every “T” crossed, be careful what you wish for…… because hands-off managers have their drawbacks, too. The best bosses give you the tools you need to do your job, and do it well, but they also check up on you periodically to make sure things are still working, and assist you in areas where that might not be the case. The worst hands-off types leave you to sink or swim on your own (either because they don’t care or are clueless). Again, chances are you’re looking for a new job.

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