Having suffered through hands-off and micromanagers, I finally found a "hands-on" manager. What were the differences? Training and trainabilty.
When a technical issue would come up, the hands-off manager couldn't be trained; the micromanager already knew or assumed most of the details. The hands-on manager could be trained on the details and their technical implications.
The hands-off manager couldn't give me support due to lack of knowledge or caring. Whenever I had a problem that required managment input, or we were resolving a conflict that required management input, my hands-on manager could be trained on the topic in a reasonable amount of time, could understand the implications, and could give advice or support as required. And the micromanager had assumed his way into what he thought was the answer.
What was my hands-on manager regulalry actively involved in? Status, work load, scheduling, resource allocation, coordinating, planning and helping us work through bureaucracies. My hands-on manager had a good feel for what each individual was working on and the place it held in the bigger picture. My micromanager was so busy checking details that he woudln't spend time handling the normal management repsonsibilities.
Now, when I'm looking for a job, I try to hire a hands-on manager for myself.
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