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The Art of Micromanagement

Stay with me here. There is an art to micromanagement. I’m sure you all have a few examples of how you have been micromanaged in the past. I have a doozy to share too

I once worked for a marketing manager who had a very good reputation in his industry. He decided to do some radio advertising and I was tasked with setting it up. Schedules were filled and costs were approved. We were on our way.

Then one Monday he strolled in and informed me that he had listened to that radio station “all day – his words not mine - and had never heard our advertisement. One of my coworkers said he had listened “all day” too and had not heard our ad. They both said, “I don’t think they’re running it.”

That’s when the whittling began. They both whittled until our ad was running at 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. This made my stomach hurt.

The campaign failed miserably.

This was pre-internet advertising so radio would have been the best place for us given our audience of farmers and ranchers, but micromanaging had taken its toll.

It was becoming apparent that this manager’s reputation was built on the assistants he had had at his previous place of employment.

His micromanagement skills in advertising were finely tuned but he should have been working on his ability to manage his email inbox. When the company’s internet provider called me to say they had already bumped his inbox storage capacity as high as it would go and he had filled it too I knew we were not headed down a good path.

The path to micromanagement is paved with good intentions.

The team has been hired because of their abilities and they should be trusted to do so, but when a successful campaign is on the line the adage of “If you want it done right you have to do it yourself” can seem like a guarantee instead of an recall notice.



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