Micro(mis)management

19 12 2012

micromanagingIf you were to ask for my opinion about management five years ago, my answer would’ve been very simple. My answer would’ve been, “It’s for those that want to do nothing and tell people what to do all the time.” Now I would tell you, “That it’s a complex balance between favoritism, dictatorship, diplomacy and motivational speeches.” The basic fundamental of getting the job done applies to all forms of management, but the driving force used to get the job done is what makes varying forms of management drastically different.

Each person possesses a unique form of leadership. Some lead through inspiration and example, while others lead through threats and carelessness. All leaders do share the same goal and that is to accomplish all tasks through the use of their subordinates. So if the same principal of “getting the job done” is applied to all forms of management and leadership, who is affected the most? The people that work to get the job accomplished.

I’ve been in the Navy five short years now. I’ve seen various forms of leadership and management during this time, and how they have left lasting impressions on the crew. If I could choose which form of management I would like to be a part of, it would be the one that interferes the least and provides incentives. The incentive would typically affect liberty hours. The benefit of offering liberty time incentives is that sailors will generally work harder and more efficiently to ensure that they’re able to go home at a decent time.

The counter to this method is to have working hours set for the same time everyday. The theory behind this method is to maximize the amount of work that gets done. This sounds great in theory, but in reality, it isn’t efficient and promotes negativity in the work environment. What can be found around the ship is a general attitude of doing the bare minimum to occupy the time it takes until you go home. Disorganized management leads to chaos. Lack of communication usually is the main reason for disharmony in the working environment. If everyone isn’t on the same page, that’s where the confusion sets in. You’ll have disagreements on what tasks rank higher in priority than others. In the end, nothing gets accomplished and an entire day has been wasted due to lack of planning. This type of leadership/management is best known as micromanagement. Micromanagement, for lack of a better phrase, is the root of all evil in my opinion. Sadly, there’s been a growing trend of micromanagement tendencies.

An outstanding management team would have a list of priorities that need to be accomplished set up the day before. That list of priorities would then be passed onto the sailors as “liberty items.” Knowing which items are considered liberty items motivates sailors to come into work with the “Get in, kick ass and get out” mentality. If we could focus more on how to become efficient as a team, as opposed to scrutinizing each individual as to what was accomplished for the day, I believe we could achieve greater results with much happier sailors.

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Larry D. Bernstein | Freelance Writer, Blogger, Educator

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