How to kill the productivity in your team - ultimate guide to *micromanagement*

*** Warning! This blog post contains shitloads of irony. Use with caution! ***

So, you want to be a *micromanager*? The shiny center of the universe, the ultimate source of universal knowledge, the last hope for hopeless and despaired, the *only* one who’s always right. You’ve come to the perfect place … Let me give you some advice …

Who’s a micromanager (MM)?

MM is an absolute and infinite egoist & egocentric. He has a high self-esteem, most likely because he has already achieved something he was good at and he was recognized for that by his supervisors. This led him to the most important conclusion - he’s awesome and everyone else is a gap-filler, the background that will help him look better in such a poor landscape. Their main role is not to interfere with MM’s work, so he can subdue the world with his awesomeness.

But how to achieve that? How to micromanage efficiently?

  1. Remember - you’re the only one who does the challenging and interesting work. Others can’t do it, because surely they are not mentally capable to do that. You’ve got the biggest knowledge & experience - is it your fault that they are behind?

  2. Even if others could (in theory) do some challenging stuff, your solution will be far better for sure, so why endlessly iterate them towards your solution? Wouldn’t it be a waste of time? Don’t waste time, do it yourself.

  3. Obviously you are a leader to those people, so you need to provide them the guidance - remember about doing some speeches (for instance - talk about the solutions you’ve come up with): the words of wisdom may enlighten them (not likely, as they are not worthy, but maybe one day…). Don’t waste time on listening to them, as you’re the one who already knows the stuff - interrupt them at the first occasion, so they can’t bore you.

  4. Assign them the dull part of work even the monkey could do - the one that is far below your dignity to perform. Especially if it’s not really meaningful, so you don’t have to check the results. This way you’ll save time for what’s important - the challenging tasks you do yourself. What’s the point in giving feedback - these mistakes have been caused by either the knowledge gap you can’t fill, mere stupidity you can’t help or absolute laziness (why bother to do effort for someone who doesn’t bother with putting some effort on his side?).

Self-orientation - the pr0 way

  1. Make sure that you don’t praise too much. If your subordinates have their own ideas, kill this initiative before it grows - you want have time to validate their stupid ideas anyway. Besides, when will they have time to put their ideas into actions? They will be occupied as a living tools that serve the purpose of executing YOUR ideas.

  2. Make sure that it’s clear to your superiors, that it’s YOU (and only you) who did it AGAIN (succeeded). Once again the hero’s godlike intervention has saved the day and you’re absolutely indispensable. The extras doesn’t matter, they are expandable, they are tools that bend under the strength of your mighty will.

  3. If the circumstances force you to delegate (all MM should hate this blasphemous word!) some conceptual work to your subordinates, make sure that everything will be validated thoroughly by yourself and gets your mark of quality! If things get queued that way - well, you can’t clone yourself, right? And remember - it’s your time that is more precious than gold, so don’t restrain yourself with setting fixed meeting times: ask them to document all the details and punish them for any inconsistency / ambiguity you find.

  4. If someone calls you a bottleneck, go rage on him! How can YOU be a bottleneck, if you’re the only real source of productivity here? You’re working 100% of time (no slacking), so how would it be ┬ápossible to increase the productivity, huh?

Being the only lighthouse in the Ocean of Gloomy Ignorance

  1. Let’s be honest, you know your stuff, right? When someone comes to you for help, you know what they need (better then themselves) after the few sentences of description. There’s no need for workshops, prototyping - if they can’t use it later, it means that they use it ALL WRONG! If they don’t appreciate how extensible and generic is the solution you brought to them, they are ungrateful bastards! And if you say that this feature will be useful in future, it’s only because of their lack of vision, that they can’t see it. YAGNI - SHMAGNI, your experience tells you the truth. And besides - this feature is soooo cool.

  2. What? They did it all wrong again? It was so simple and you’ve spend 20 minutes on vigorously describing them what they are supposed to do and they didn’t get it again? See? It would be absolutely pointless to bother yourself with summarizing the expectations, setting the measurable goals, establishing milestones, preparing the backlogs …

  3. Ok, your subordinates may do that task somehow (in the end), but seriously - you already know how to do it, you can almost see it already in your mind: you can’t resist releasing this awesomeness from your god-like mind - it’s so…, so… perfect, that IT HAS TO BE YOUR WAY! Your people should appreciate the awesomeness of your ideas and bow before you, because you’ve already did the hard part for them - now they just have to follow what you tell them: mindlessly code the perfect design you’ve shaped.

  4. Make sure that you share with your subordinates only absolutely necessary information - why to overload their weak brains with information that is not critical for their low-level duties? Big picture ain’t for small people.

  5. And in the end - if you give your people some freedom, won’t it mean that you’re getting dispensable? What if someone comes up with the idea of replacing you - "see, this dude has come with a nice idea as well, maybe we didn’t need his superior?". You have to defend the position you’ve earned with such an effort and sacrifice earlier! It will be for everyone’s good, as no-one could do this job as good as you.

Hopefully these career tips will help you to become the better micromanager. To isolate the simpletons from the work they could screw. Remember, there can be only one.

About Sebastian Gebski

Geek, agilista, blogger, codefella, serial reader. In the daylight - I lead software delivery. #lean #dotnet #webdev #elixir. I speak here for myself only.