Thursday, July 21, 2005

Take this job and... (use your imagination)

I’d like to recommend a book for those of you who work for my boss, and hopefully (please, God) there aren’t very many since I (purposefully) haven’t told anybody at work about this little gem of a blog. Actually, it would be good for anybody who has a boss like mine, or even for people who are bosses. It’s called My Way or the Highway: The Micromanagement Survival Guide and it's by Harry E. Chambers. I first heard about this book (shocker here) on NPR and then picked it up at the library. (P.S. Dear Mr. Library Man: I do intend to bring this one back, I promise, and I will pay you all the money I owe you too!)

On page 33 there is a fantastic quiz you can take to see if you are a micromanager. It features questions such as “I offer input on how people can best utilize their time a.) frequently or b.) infrequently” and “People who see things differently than I do are a.) misguided or b.) interesting.” Of course, my favorite one is “The soundtrack for my internal monologue is a.) ‘Caramina Burana’ or b.) ‘Easy Like Sunday Morning.’” Hehehe…made that last one up.

Still, the book is full of tips for working effectively with micromanagers and also for avoiding becoming one yourself. I, myself, am perilously close. My one saving grace is that I have nobody to manage at work and at home I am limited to Owen (who desperately needs it) and Roxie and Velma. Sine they spend most of their time molesting the gargoyle statue on our back deck (just the cats, not Owen) and since I am not going to lower myself by telling them how they can do it better, it looks like I’m in the clear for now. But I can tell that I am really just a ticking time-bomb of excessive supervision and needless hovering looking for a subordinate to latch onto in parasite fashion.

Truly, though, according to a study quoted in the book (and we all know that studies are infallible, right?), 79% of employees surveyed report being micromanaged and 69% of them say they’ve considered changing jobs because of it. 71% say that micromanagement has interfered with their job performance. 85% say it has had a negative impact on their morale. That’s just a nice way of saying it makes them want to go Donald-Duck-nuts with the screaming and cursing and the little jets of steam shooting from where his ears should be (since he doesn’t actually have ears, does he? I wonder if that’s why he talks so poorly…hmm…). Or worse.

Those of you who have the courage to tune in regularly will no doubt have the honor of experiencing just such behavior vicariously through yours truly since my boss wrote the book on management strategies that include: hounding, hovering, endless reporting, and double-double checking. Paranoia, anybody?

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