CXO

What should I do: CEO wants to micromanage

A TechRepublic member is having problems with a micromanaging CEO. Take a look at her story and see what advice you can give.

A TechRepublic member is having problems with a micromanaging CEO. Take a look at her story and see what advice you can give.

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This week in What should I do?, we hear from an IT pro who has a serious case of micromanager to deal with. If there's one thing that I've learned from the TechRepublic audience, it's that they hate micromanagers. It may be something IT is faced with more than any other department, since they are the "doers" that make all the strategic visions happen for everyone else. This is the e-mail that I got:

"We have a President/CEO who became hands-on last year in our business. It quickly became apparent that he is a micro-micromanager — and the results have been 3+ hours bi-monthly Executive meetings, staff that feel like we're wearing hand-cuffs so we won't make decisions, and people who see their work as invalid.

This CEO also likes to pretend he's a PM on projects — especially those in the technological realm — and often drops the ball. I am the one who picks the ball back up to finish the project. His best quality is that he has a 30,000 foot overview of what his vision for the company is. The worst part is that he doesn't see the working cogs in the big picture — so often when he's trying to manage projects, he misses out on one whole section of the business.

Take, for example, our website — he made every little decision every step of the way, but never thought of how online ordering would affect the workers in the stores, and forgot to keep them in the loop. So, when we received our first order, of course it was a disaster (we have online ordering disabled, and I'm the one who is working hard now to fix the glitches — when if ANY member of the team had been involved in the inception of the idea, this wouldn't have occurred).

He also has trouble with showing up regularly, often reschedules meetings that have been in place for days or weeks, and is late often — which says to his team that his time is ultimately more important than ours.

Last, and probably one of my biggest issues, is that when he tasks any team member, he delves into what they should do, how they should do it, what he would do, and then says 'It's your decision' — which evidently it is not. I know that this is ineffective, and will foster no self-confidence in my fellow team members. We're the team. We know how to do what we do best, or we wouldn't have been hired.

I do have to say that a few months ago I thought he was getting coaching, because he also used to be a negotiator on everything — from money to services to time. I have nothing against negotiating up front with people, but it can get very, well, non-professional. Somewhere in the last six months he realized that that is not an attractive trait. I tried to tell him that when you sign a contract for services for a certain pricing structure, you don't go back to negotiate when you receive the bill. Right? Well finally, at least he's grown out of that.

Now you might say, 'Oh gosh, girl, you should quit, this man's clueless.' But I like him, believe it or not. I like the company. I love the team. We all do. We're compensated well. We have a pleasant work environment outside of this one issue. We just all wish he would lead us. I think he can do it.

My question: How can we get our leader to be a leader?

I can't rightly tell him these things, or that he needs coaching, or to read articles I could print for him about leadership. That wouldn't be received very well."

Let's help this woman out. Post your advice.

Got a career scenario of your own? E-mail it to us here. We'll post it anonymously, and see what kind of feedback your peers have to offer.

About Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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