Letter: How do you manage up?
In regards to your October 20, 2008 issue on "Are you a Micromanager?":
The article was a nice read, but Mike and Judy did not offer anything most managers don’t already know. My specific issue is with how to properly handle a micromanager (or director), when I am already practicing empowerment and accountability with my staff. I do lead by example, but am continuously de-railed on my own efforts, when my boss questions everything that is going on….where is the trust? And truly, the problem is that the micromanager’s around us aren’t listening!!!
I am active in providing ways to improve processes and communicating the daily activities, which includes working with not only my boss, but other Director’s and Executive’s in the organization. The issue is that they (executive management) don’t take the next steps or just don’t care. Not only does this wear on me, but my staff, since many of the improvements comes from them. How do you manage up, when it doesn’t work? Or, what is a better way to manage up that will work?
As Judy’s article pointed out, work with your boss/manager and figure out the best ways to communicate, but if you have exhausted all avenues, providing every type of communication asked for, but with no changes, no decisions, no direction being given back, how can you be effective. I once asked my boss “don’t you trust me” in handling decisions and budgetary spending, the immediate answer was “No.” How do you empower managers that don’t feel trusted? And how do you effect change to upper management, when they don’t seem to want to change?
My personal feeling is that the Executive Management has ownership and accountability for trust, empowerment and accountability, because if they don’t practice what they preach, then how can anyone else. A middle manager does not have enough power or pull to make these types of changes, no matter how much “managing up” you do. Controlling micromanagement falls squarely on the shoulders of the executives, but they too need to have open eyes and ears to what is happening around them.
What advice do you have for Mr. MiddleManager? Post a comment or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post it for you.