I love micromanagers. Now, you are probably thinking, "Are you for real?" It is true. Micromanagers are heroes in my world. It's ok if you consider me crazy. I know what you have been told. But they deserve a lot more love than they currently get.
Let me be clear. I am not talking about the VP of product who gives you the runaround and barely gives you room to breathe (let alone work). That's suffocation, not leadership.
The micromanagers I am talking about care a great deal -- they help their teams get busy and be successful. Yet they get a bad rap for that devotion and attention to detail.
Since the word "micromanager" made it into the dictionary 40 years ago, it certainly has held negative connotations. You do not hear too many people bragging about what a great micromanager they are. Or how they love when their team lead micromanages them.
But what about the leader who is totally invested in achievement and never stops thinking about ways to improve? The person who knows the unique strengths and weaknesses of each team member and how they contribute to the company's success? This enthusiastic, challenging, and encouraging micromanager never gives up on trying to achieve greatness.
If you have that kind of micromanager as a leader on your product team, count yourself lucky. That is because they:
Own the plan
Micromanagers do not just wing it. They feel responsible for the goals of the organization and invest in a thoughtful product roadmap with a clear plan of action for their team. They know what everyone is working on and make sure the work is on track. They own the high-level strategy and are capable of understanding and helping with the details.
Nothing is worse than a selfish manager whose only interest is furthering their own career. They will free you with distance, but good luck getting feedback or assistance. The right kind of micromanager is invested in your professional growth. They take pride in your success and are always looking out for new opportunities to help you reach your potential.
You might think that the product leader who gives you plenty of space is a good thing. But a manager who allows you to float off on your own will usually allow the entire team to drift apart. Teams that stick close together can accomplish almost anything together. But first, they need a leader who instinctively knows how to build that closeness within the team.
Take "team" seriously
These leaders are exceedingly loyal to the team and expect the best effort from everyone, including themselves. They are continuous learners and do their best to set a great example. And they are consistent and dependable -- because they know that others are counting on them too.
The truth is that there are all kinds of product leaders in this world -- a few of them outstanding, many poor, others just somewhere in the middle.
But when you have an invested leader in your corner, you have an ally -- someone who pursues team success and manages with a steady mind and caring heart. If that is the definition of a micromanager, then so be it.
Please, call me the same.
Have you had a micromanager? Good or bad?