Could Micromanaging Increase Relapse Risk in Recovering Employees?

Micromanaging and Relapse Risk

Most addicts in recovery are able to find employment, fortunately for them!  Recovery, especially initially, takes active self-care and intentional self-management and the tools to do such are taught during rehabilitation programs.  During rehab, effective tools for the workplace, in general, are taught, which can make an addict in recovery an excellent employee.

Yet sometimes the workplace can also trigger relapse, especially when dealing with unnecessary stress such as a micromanaging bossy boss.

Here’s how to identify a micromanager, in yourself or others, and what to do about it.

Nobody Likes Micromanagement

People have heard the word “micromanager” and know that it isn’t something you want to be, and yet identifying the problem can be so difficult.  Looking in the mirror and seeing it in yourself can be virtually impossible.  Naming it in other isn’t easy either.

Here are some of the clues that you might be dealing with or observing (or creating!) micromanagement:

  • The manager is super busy, but with things that could be delegated, like day-to-day operations and client contact.
  • Even when things are delegated, there’s lots of following up and status updates required.
  • Management thinks, “I could have done that better myself,” and then may even insist on doing things the next time.
  • The manager wants to get “all the information,” including just a flow of information or communication into a department.
  • People aren’t told what to do, they are also told how to do it.
  • Input from employees is not sought or welcomed.

Since people do not like being micromanaged, you will also notice that:

  • People avoid the manager.
  • There is high employee turnover.
  • There is low morale or job satisfaction in the area.

Under those circumstances, it is easy to see why a job would be more stressful.  That stress could then, in turn, trigger relapse for addicts in recovery.

Undo the Micro and Get with the Macro

The opposite of micromanagement might then be said to be macro-management.  Macro-management would mean focusing on the big picture, operating off of strategic plans, and turning over tasks completely to an individual or a department, asking only for an update or a summary once a task is complete.

If you are or have been dealing with a micromanager, there are steps you can take to get the situation addressed.

  1. Talk to the manager in a reassuring way, such as saying, “I got this.” Or, “Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when the job is completed,” or even, “I have a plan, no need to bore you with the particulars, but I’ll report on how it goes.”
  2. If that doesn’t work, consider speaking with the manager directly about feeling micromanaged. (You may just want to avoid that term and instead speak in specific experiences).
  3. Consider speaking with HR or the manager’s manager about the difficulty you are experiencing. Have that conversation armed with specifics, as much as possible.
  4. If you are in senior management, consider broadly training all middle management on micromanagement—what it looks like, how much it costs an organization, and how to avoid it.
  5. If you suspect you yourself might be a micromanager, get help! Learn to lead instead of to boss, and you will have a happier, more successful team.

Learn and Grow

Whatever your management techniques, make continuing education a job requirement.  No one is perfect!  Micromanagement isn’t a physical condition with no cure!  Even just reading this blog about it could be the first step to recovery.

And by recovery from whatever ails us, we become better professionals and more successful in our chosen endeavors.

Comment below and let us know about your recovery from micromanagement.

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