Problem-Solving Success Tip - Dealing with Micromanagement
by Jeanne Sawyer
The more visible and expensive a problem is, the more likely various executives will buzz around "helping" and/or constantly asking how things are going and telling you what to do next. If you're leading a problem-solving effort and this is happening to you, here are some techniques that can you can use to stop it.
Keep in mind that these micromanagers are concerned about the problem and genuinely want it fixed. The behavior that is driving you crazy is usually a result of their being nervous about the possible consequences to the company (and themselves) if your problem-solving effort fails (or isn't quick enough). The question to ask yourself is, "How can I demonstrate that everything is under control and that I'm handling the situation effectively?" If you can answer that for them, they'll be more likely to get out of your way.
• Define what information they need to be confident that the project is under control. Determine how and when you should provide that information. Find out by asking them what they need. With some people, you can even make a direct bargain, e.g., "If I provide you with x information on y schedule, will you agree NOT to interrupt me with interim checkups?" Of course, whether you can do that and the way you handle that depends on the individuals involved and the nature of the problem.
• Put your communication plan in place and tell them what to expect. For example, "I'll send you an email at the end of the day every day with a short status report," or, "I'll send you a full progress report at the end of the week," or, "I'll meet with you every other day to give you an update." Verify that this is ok with them. Then make sure you do it.
Of course, if the execs involved can indeed help you, take advantage of their abilities--but be specific about what you want them to do and be prepared to help them get it done.
Copyright 2010. Jeanne Sawyer. All Rights Reserved.
Jeanne Sawyer may be contacted at http://www.sawyerpartnership.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeanne Sawyer is an author, consultant, trainer and coach who helps her clients solve expensive, chronic problems, such as those that cause operational disruptions and cause customers to take their business elsewhere. These tips are excerpted from her book, When Stuff Happens: A Practical Guide to Solving Problems Permanently. Find out about it, and get more free information on problem solving at her web site: http://www.sawyerpartnership.com/.