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Defending Yourself Against Corporate Psychopaths

Using Aikido principles to survive hand-to-hand fights with corporate psychopaths

News Toxic managers Books High Demand Cults Leaders Practices Recommended Links Recommended Papers Insubordination Threat
Fighting Strategies Understanding micromanagers Documenting Micromanager Behavior Enemy at the Gate: Rules of communication with micromanager Rules of Verbal Self Defense Five Points Verbal Response Test Learned helplessness
Mediation Controlling anger before it controls you Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
The psychopath in the corner office Stoicism The Fiefdom Syndrome Surviving a Bad Performance Review Coping with the toxic stress Humor Etc

"A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight; nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by exertions of better men than himself."

John Stuart Mill

"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

Winston Churchill

"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. . . . You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny...

Winston Churchill

"Land of Oz" metaphor suggests that bad bosses fall into three groups: the boss with no brains; the boss with no courage; and the boss with no heart: the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man. But the older I get, the more aware I become of simple, but nasty fact that a significant subset of management types fall in the category not covered in the "Land of Oz": micromanagers. So we will use them as an example of how to fight corporate psychopath in general.

Those "M-word" individuals are simply the most frequent, the most common variety of corporate psychopaths. Because micromanagement is petty, the level of danger of such individual is often underappreciated although in corporate environment they are as dangerous as bullies (and most of them are bullies, see Surviving a Bad Performance Review). Large percentage of paranoid incompetent micromanagers are females and they use their gender as a bullet proof vest to deflate any critique. The differences between them and criminals are pretty superficial -- both are people without any remorse and use "my way or highway" as the main life guiding principle.

Micromanagement is perversion of management and it is important to understand that for some unknown reason it is more common among female managers then man. The litmus test of micromanagement is that normal, appropriate activities such as monitoring, reporting, and requiring approvals are exaggerated to the extent that they convert into its opposites. monitoring into pretty, detailed control of every action, reporting into requests for reports with frequency and detail that leave little time for anything else, etc. Every such measure is perverted and converted into its opposite. Any initiative not coming from micromanager is squashed...

When taken to extremes those normal organizational measures detract value, impede performance, and negatively impact process efficiency. Also in both monitoring and reporting one size does not fit all and level acceptable for highly structured environment and in environment populated with novices is unacceptable when working with seasoned IT professionals. That means that what is micromanagement in one area can be reasonable management in another and vise versa.

Micromanagers are generally are characterized as people with weakened self-esteem, injured narcissism and paranoid tendencies. They are preoccupied with power.

It really dangerous for you mental and physical health to work for PIMM for prolonged period of time. Remember classic survival rule of three.

The Rule of Three states:

  1. Humans cannot survive more than three hours exposed to extreme low-temperature.
  2. Humans cannot survive more than three days without water.
  3. Humans cannot survive more than three weeks without food.

We can expand this "rule of three" to "humans can't survive more then three years working for a micromanager" without negative consequences for physical of psychological health. After certain time period, like in case of solders in the front lines posttraumatic stress syndrome can hit you and affect you long after you left this particular place; moreover chronic stress destroys most humans really fast.

Still to preserve your dignity you need to fight it. Like any fighting, fighting micromanagers involves two levels: strategic and tactical.

Rules of fighting corporate psychopaths

The psychopaths are always around.

"It is a characteristic of all movements and crusades that the psychopathic element rises to the top"

Robert Lindner

Up-the-hill battle is the most difficult type of battle. The enemy commands heights. Some losses are inevitable, a well-though out strategy can minimize them. There are three simple rules that might (or might not) help:

  1. The less you speak and the more formal distance you keep, the better are your changes to withstand attacks and deflect them. See Negative Politeness
  2. Like in any war your survival is not guaranteed. All discussions of strategy and tactic are good and useful but only to a certain extent and as a temporary measure. The best solution is transfer or finding another job. First of all everybody consider ourselves Carl von Clausewitz type of strategist when observing the fight from a distance, but very few of us can stage a good fight. It's one thing to read all those thoughtful or stupid recommendations and the other fight those exhausting day-to-day-battles with a control freak. And like in any war this is not only front line battle. As in any battle open confrontation is just a side story. The main battle is actually about supply lines. The strength on your network is as important as your communications skills and ability to withstand direct pressure, threat and outbursts (front-line skills).
  3. Rages should be expected and deal with calmly. Consider them as a standard weapon and be prepared. It often help to position yourself as a researcher studying particular personality disorder. That allow you take any accusation impartially as if directed to the third person you both know, and carefully weight arguments. Which have significant cooling affect on any psychopath, as in reality most of them are staged -- they never lose self-control and carefully observe your reaction. According to Professor Hare "Corporate psychopaths tend to be manipulative, arrogant, callous, impatient, impulsive, unreliable and prone to fly into rages". If you are unprepared then the pain and suffering are amplified. Some of victims would succumb to heart attacks, alcoholism or even or commit suicide, he said.
  4. They are really different and cannot be measured by the same standard as ordinary people. They are more like professional actors then real humans: everything is fake and imitated. Psychopaths succeed in conventional society in large measure because few of us grasp that they are fundamentally different from ourselves. They are more like professional actors then real humans: never forget about that.

    We assume that they, too, care about other people's feelings. This makes it easier for them to "play" us. Although they lack empathy, they develop a professional actor's expertise in evoking ours. While they don't care about us, "they have an element of emotional intelligence, of being able to see our emotions more or less clearly and manipulate them," says Michael Maccoby, a psychotherapist who has consulted for major corporations. Don't fall into this trap. Ignore attempts to invoke pity, sympathy or similar emotions. This is all a game.

  5. Your social skills = your combat skills. Start improving them immediate and put as much money on this activity as necessary. Never overestimate your own social skills and underestimate social skills of PIMM. Social skills, especially communication skills, are the weapons on the battle field and they by-and-large predetermine that the results of your confrontations with PIMM. You better be prepared. That means that you need start immediately and continue relentlessly train yourself and strive for improving your communication skills dramatically.

    Such terms as "negative politeness", "emotional distance", "defection", "self-control" should became well known and fully understood ASAP. Study literature about OCD and paranoia. Most micromanagers suffer both from OCD and paranoia. You need to understand those two pretty well to preserve your emotional health. The danger to it is very real. BTW alcoholism and drug addiction are also closely related to OCD.

  6. Paranoia is such a prominent trait of most micromanagers that studying literature about the topic immensely helps to understand PIMM behavior and by extension enhances your ability to fight them. For example personal attacks and attempts to humiliate others are often used by PIMM as an attempt to alleviate personal anxiety by conquering, defeating and dominating others. An excessive need to control one's surroundings is the cornerstone of paranoiac personality.
  7. Your social network is actually your only open supply lines: without strong social network you soon be without weapons and ammunition. Just desire to fight is not enough. You cannot stop tanks with bare hands.
  8. Get out as soon as possible but not sooner. If you like you job and the current salary, then finding another position might as painful as a divorce but unless you are sure that you can outlast PIMM leaving might be better then staying. Be careful to differentiate between what is a real oasis of opportunity and a mirage in a desert.

    Possibility of long unemployment stretch as well as running out of money, compounded by the continued discomfort of not knowing when you get a new job makes "emotionally dictated exit" really stupid. Please be aware that in such a situation any other job opportunity looks nicer that it really is. That might result in jumping into a position that is some respects can be worse then your current situation.

Female micromanager are more difficult case then make micromanagers

It is important to know that micromanagers are often females and that the majority of victims are also females. Female micromanager are more "kitty-catty" and usually are more dangerous opponent then male micromanagers. In this case "affirmative action" became a really nasty, perverted joke (you can be sure that they will be among active member of any "Female employees career mentioning" or "minorities empowerment" initiative).

Female micromanagers often hardest on their own sex

In case you are male be assured that will use their gender as a bulletproof west. In case you are a female they will definitely try to appeal to female solidarity, complain about nasty male-oriented culture of the company, "glass ceiling" and/or exploit common for females problems.

In Lovefraud Blog post When women are sociopaths-psychopaths the author aptly noted:

There is actually very little research data available regarding sociopathy in non-criminals and in women. The little research that has been done reveals that sociopathy in women entails two or three main features that are similar to those found in men. Namely, female sociopaths lack empathy and enjoy manipulating and exploiting others. Violent and impulsive behavior is less common in sociopathic women. This fact may make them more dangerous, as they more easily blend in with the rest of society.

The key traits of sociopathic females

A recent study of adolescent girls in detention performed by Crystal L. Schrum, M.A. and Randall T. Salekin, Ph.D. of the University of Alabama and reported in Behavioral Sciences and the Law, revealed the core qualities that best described young female sociopaths. The teens were callous and lacked empathy, had a grandiose sense of self worth and were conning and manipulative. They were also likely to engage in impersonal sexual relationships. Importantly, the researchers revealed that female sociopaths did not necessarily have "shallow emotions." Again the lack of impulsivity and shallow emotions may make a female sociopath more difficult to spot.

... ... ...

The case of Michelle Drake also illustrates something else about female sociopaths. The courts are more likely to go easy on them. This attitude of the courts may reflect the fact that many people excuse the behavior of female sociopaths and feel sorry for them. Look at the cases of women in the news lately. We don't know if the women involved are sociopaths, however, these cases do illustrate the double standard that exists in how we judge female as opposed to male antisocial behavior. Several women teachers have been found guilty of sexually exploiting students. They were treated very leniently for the same crimes that would have put a man in jail for many years.

As Scott Berkun aptly noted:

The best advice for having a bad manager is to seek other employment. Don't undervalue your happiness: it's impossible to be happy if you work directly for someone you can't stand. It may be difficult to find another job, but if you are willing to make compromises in other areas (salary, position, project, location, etc.) it will certainly be possible. Being happy and underpaid is a much better way to spend a life than unhappy and anything else.

Making life changes, even progressive beneficial ones, is difficult and leaving a bad manager might require weeks or months of less than pleasant living. However, on the other side of any decision to leave is something you can't get where you currently are: the possibility of a good manager, and the sanity that it will bring you. The "never quit, tough it out" attitude is a mistake if you are in a situation that can never result in your satisfaction. I think the act of finding a new job, or even quitting before you've found one, can be a way to take more control. It puts you back at center of your life, where you belong. There are risks involved, but it puts you, and not your manager or company, at the center of them.

But for the sake of this essay I'll assume that you are either unwilling or unable to leave. Maybe you're looking for something new and have to endure a bad manager until you've found it, or perhaps your family is heavily dependent on you and your options are limited. That's fine. Just remember to re-read the first paragraph every month or so to make sure you're considering all your choices, and not hiding behind the deceptive safety of a merely acceptable job, when what you need is something more.

Trimming down your expectations

Don't trust, don't be afraid, don't ask for any favors
(In Russian: Не верь, не бойся, не проси)

GULAG survival principle

It is very important to trim down your expectations. Expect as a minimum the following:

This page is written as a self-help material for those who need to buy some time or are unwilling or incapable to leave for some other reason. Do not take your situation lightly. This is a war with hand combat in the trenches involved so unless you are well prepared on the level of Green Berets which should become your role model if you want to stay (training is everything here) you might be suffering post traumatic stress syndrome like many solders who went to the from line: chronic stress destroys most humans really fast.

Some more of less plausible fighting strategies

"The main lesson I have learnt is that when dealing with a sociopath, the normal rules of etiquette do not apply. You are dealing with someone who has no empathy, no conscience, no remorse, and no guilt... It is a completely different mindset. Words like 'predator' and 'evil' are often used."

-- Field

I complied this list mainly as self-help instrument. In no way it is complete or scientific. You are warned.

  1. Stoicism as a philosophy can be of great help. See Stoicism.

    We learn from Marcus Aurelius the importance of prizing only things of true value, and from Epictetus we learn how to be more content with what we have.

    Finally, A Guide to the Good Life shows readers how to become thoughtful observers of their own life. If we watch ourselves as we go about our daily business and later reflect on what we saw, we can better identify the sources of distress and eventually avoid that pain in our life. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life.

    David B Richman (Mesilla Park, NM USA)
    The Best Introduction to an Ancient Philosophy, December 23, 2008 See all my reviews

    A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (Hardcover)

    I first read Marcus Aurelius' "Meditations" while flying to the eastern United States for a scientific meeting. It was during a rather difficult period in my life and I had picked up on "Meditations" because of a mention of this work by Edwin Way Teale in "Near Horizons" as a book he turned to in times of trouble.

    I was not disappointed by these insightful notes written for his own use nearly 2000 years ago by the Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher. It was thus that I was primed to read William B. Irvine's "A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy." This is one of those books that can be really life changing, if the reader is ready for it.

    Irvine briefly discusses the history of Stoic philosophy and its relationship to other philosophies in ancient Greece and Rome. He concentrates most of the book, however, on the Stoics of the Roman Empire, namely Seneca, Gaius Musonius Rufus, Epictetus and of course, Marcus Aurelius. After his historical review Irvine spends some time on the practical aspects of Stoicism, including

    • negative visualization (visualizing how your life could be worse),
    • dichotomy of control (what we can and cannot control),
    • fatalism (about the past and present, not the future),
    • self-denial (putting off pleasure so as to appreciate it more when you have it),
    • duty (what we owe to others),
    • social relations (how we relate to others),
    • insults (how to react to them),
    • grief (how to deal with loss),
    • anger (how to turn it to humor),
    • personal values (how to deal with fame and fortune, or the lack thereof),
    • old age (how to deal with the aging process),
    • and dying (how to prepare for this certainty).

    The last part of the book is devoted to the practice of Stoicism in the modern world, with both its pluses and minuses.

    Although I would have to practice a modified Stoicism (I doubt that most of us would like to sleep even occasionally on a board or give up sex except for procreation), there is much of Stoicism that we can use in the modern world.

    Unlike the Cynics who slept on boards all the time and generally followed ascetic practices, Stoics wanted to enjoy life and followed something akin to the Middle Way of Buddhism. This attitude could certainly be of use to counter the worst of this "me first" society of rampant consumerism. In truth you really cannot take it with you when you die and to act like you can is the height of folly.

    This book is a fascinating exposition of Stoic philosophy and its possible uses in the present day. The current economic collapse and other disasters of modern living could be a fertile ground for a revival of Stoic ideas. I also recommend it as a refreshing antidote for the hectic modern world in general. Take what is useful, and leave the rest, but read it if you would live deliberately and thus be free!

  2. Beware of Stockholm syndrome. Victims of especially severe abuse often "identify with the abuser" in order to survive. This means she will actually begin to agree with the criticisms and perspectives of the abuser while her own personality, opinions, and views fade to the background. This is a serious set of psychological events called the "Stockholm Syndrome." When an abuser/controller shows the victim some small kindness, even though it is to the abusers benefit as well, the victim interprets that small kindness as a positive trait of the captor. In criminal/war hostage situations, letting the victim live is often enough. Small behaviors, such as allowing a bathroom visit or providing food/water, are enough to strengthen the Stockholm Syndrome in criminal hostage events. Your situation is not the different from a criminal hostage situation and as such you are susceptible to Stockholm Syndrome. In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not "all bad" and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the target would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be abused again and when it doesn't happen, that "small kindness" is interpreted as a positive sign.
  3. Know with whom you are dealing with. That sounds easy but in reality it is very difficult. Psychopaths are completely different from us. The are aliens in the most exact meaning of this word. Still your best defense is to understand the true nature of those office predators, beasts without any sense of remorse for their actions:
  4. Know yourself. Psychopathic paranoid incompetent micromanagers are skilled at detecting and exploiting weak spots, finding the right buttons to press. In short PIMM is a predator. Only real feelings they seem to have - the thing that drives them and causes them to act out different dramas for effect - is a sort of "predatorial hunger" for what they want. They are good players in corporate poker and are adept in unleashing especially nasty complain or demands just before your annual performance review. They also can use flattery to "soften" you before or after attack. While not all micromanagers are created equal and in this chess party is it prudent to assume that they are skilled players who can exploit human weaknesses and have vast experience in doing so.
  5. A paper trail is the most powerful weapon against micromanagers. One of the best lines of "defense" is your diligence in clarifying the progress you made and keeping a paper trail of everything that you have done in a form of "progress reports" that micromanagers love so much. In true Aikido style make this weapon against you act as the weapon against micromanager.
  6. Every task should have a stated measurable goal, whether it's a report, a decision or a sale, and a process and those would be explicitly identified.

    Forget about doing the best work possible. Do assignments only on the acceptable level. Any success in your department strengthens PIMM position more then your position. If you need to program something really innovative to feel yourself comfortable consider contributing your efforts to open source project.

    In some cases it makes sense downgrade the system to industry standard level as keeping it on higher level might required additional efforts that are better spend on preparing "defensive paperwork' like progress reports.

  7. Try to put measurements in hours on any assignment to prevent abrupt changes
  8. Use "structured" slots like monthly progress reviews to put demands on the PIMM. Ask for copies of some documents, spreadsheets, presence on some of the meeting you chair, etc. But remember that all your requests should be constructive and they should be useful for your work.
  9. Consider dealing with micromanager to be a battle test for your communication skills. Relentlessly work on improving them from the day one. You can need all you have and more. If by change you are attacked by PIMM for having "poor communication skills" use this as a great opportunity: enroll in training as much as the company and your boss permits. Acquire all the necessary literature: this is money well spent. Talk with people you respect for their communication abilities, invite them for lunch and try to learn from them. I know that 's very difficult, but please try...

    If the manager have the second thought you can always accuse him/her is being not forthcoming in your development: after all it was him who pointed out on the fault. And this is a rather serious accusation that can help you to weaken the grip of micromanager.
  10. Beware of risks involved in using HR to intervene in a micromanagement problem. Micromanaging is not a problem for HR. But you can use HR to provide your documentation stating why you disagree with the end of the year assessment of your results by micromanager so that your objections can be entered into your performance record. When the time is truly right for HR to act, then you will have trail of historical information for abuse and mismanagement that will be difficult to deny. And it can be used both with inside and outside sources to take action.

    The same is true about upper management. Remember, micromanagers tend to hire micromanagers, so assess your boss's boss carefully before whistle blowing. See also Whistleblower Bill of Rights

  11. Try to deflect rather then counter attacks. Every micromanaged employee needs to know the main principle of aikido. That's a martial art where the key is to turn an opponents force back against him with clever footwork, leverage, and ducking. Micromanager is a paranoiac person which is driven by his/her own insecurities and he/she rushes blindly with tremendous force on direct opposition. Like shark feel smell of blood micromanager automatically attack any sign of resistance. So sometimes it make sense can try mimicry and "play dead" by pretending to give up : don't fight, don't push back, don't resist. That will only make the micromanager do it harder.

    Fake compliance while subtlety undermining or deflecting idiotic measures and start quietly pursue your own education (getting some sort of certification ASAP is the first such measure that you should consider) can improve the situation to the extent it become more bearable.

    In other words try to simulate compliance while diverting part of your energy from deal-end activities dictated by PIMM to some socially useful, self-esteem enhancing activities like giving free lectures, participating in some voluntarily organization that you value or writing/supporting open source software. But never lose your guard or reveal the changes of your strategy: do not change the frequency of meetings or communication with the boss (open avoidance is big mistake) and do not allow to be driven into measure that are illegal or can really harm the company: micromanagers can be pretty charming it they need to got get something. Paralysis is OK though: that's a fair price the company should pays for promoting a micromanager to its current position.
  12. Develop and protect your company support net. This is your safety net. Try to do free work for other departments if possible. Usually It environment is flexible enough to provide you an opportunity to help others at the expense of your department.
  13. If you decided to quit, right timing is everything.

Level two recommendations

An airline passenger observes abusive passenger who behaves like a high placed airline official seated in front of him and after a while asks the stewardess, "How can you take this kind of abuse?"

The woman said with a straight face "Mr. Smith is going to Los Angeles but his luggage is going to Nairobi."

  1. Beware of the "Fundamental Attribution Error" in interpretation of the actions of your boss. Most people have a tendency to overweight the role of what "kind" of person is on a person's actions, and underweight the social and environmental forces that influence the particular person Humans tend to attribute others motivation to much to character and inclination and too little to context. For instance, your boss might be distracted by troubles about which you know nothing. There might be dozens of scenarios like that.

    While most micromanagers have deep personality problems this factor should never be considered as a single one determining the behavior. Upper level management requests might be a factor as important or even more important and cruel and unusual behavior toward you can be just an attempt to meet requirements or follow directions from above. The corporation as a whole might be as sick as your boss. BTW over attribution is less likely, perhaps even inverted, when people explain their own behavior. See The Fundamental Attribution Error

    "Control Freak" label might well be a form of attributional error or "dispositional bias": the tendency to perceive other's motives or actions as indicating some inner motivational or personality trait that explains the (especially questionable) behavior, that is, sleazy, cheap�a "control freak." And of course, the face-saving inverse: we tend to personally attribute or rationalize our actions and outcomes (especially unfavorable ones) to external, mitigating and "out of our control" forces.

    Only careful documentation and "post factum" analysis of events can reveal real set of traits and dominant modes of attack of particular corporate psychopath.

  2. Do a little side project of your own using free time, for example some write or assume ownership on so open source software development project or help with documentation of the open source project you use, etc. There is a lot to learn in this world, and you probably have an Internet connection at your desk. If you sick and tied of programming write a novel about your expertise. who knows may be you are closet Leo Tolstoy and can became rich this way. If you do something productive in your free time, you will be less vulnerable to attacks on your self-esteem and you will not sweet the small staff like in a typical situations when boss by changing direction destroys all or large part of your previous work or when he by over-controlling you make you less or zero productive.

  3. Beware of any attempt to talk "openly and honestly" with PIMM. It is highly unlikely that you are going to change your boss or restrain him/her. Remember the fairy tall about three little pigs. You are a little pig who goes to the open to negotiate with a wolf.

  4. Keep your private copies and CD-based backups of all valuable data including all progress reports as well as and paper copies of major emails that might be needed if you eventually decide to go to court or to arbitrage. That might take up some of your time but this is a necessary safety measure; you also will have less time to worry about yet another abrupt change of direction of the project or other work problem.

    The person being micromanaged must create documentation that quantifies work being done to provide detailed information later to refresh the memory of the micromanager. The quantified information should not be used to attack the micromanager using HT as a Trojan horse, but as a defense against unfair job evaluation only. HR is an instrument of management and will always be it.

  5. Try to attack their tendency of avoidance of the responsibility by providing "total feedback paper trail". That might slightly lessen their grip if you can exploit overload, although your mileage can vary:
  6. Fully exploit the fact that micromanager cherishes the constant flow of updates and reports. It leaves in artificial world of paperwork that has nothing to do with the reality. Use email to the fullest extent possible, but remain constructive.
    1. Never spare them of information that is relevant to the project you performs. Let them enjoy full information they so desperately want. The flow of emails often acts as sedative for many PIMM creating an illusion that they are in full control of the situation.
    2. This also serve in implicit goal to increase the load on PIMM so that s/he has less time to overcontol all you activities.
  7. Use calculated avoidance maneuver but remember that keeping a micromanager at a safe distance is extremely difficult and somewhat dangerous.
  8. Practice meetings Jujutsu
  9. You can try to get the status of a lackey, but a protected one. In this case try to be proactive without taking credit. Give ideas but don't push them. If the boss acts on your idea a month later and takes it as his or her own, be grateful. But few people can adapt to whatever the boss wants. This old-fashioned, 1950s "Company Man" view of the world is obsolete. Micromanagers are sometimes too much even for sycophants.
  10. When overwhelmed with anger and resentment try to remember, the essential need of a control freak is not to crush you but to defend himself against anxiety and insecurity. The latter usually it's a reflection of the manager's own shortcoming. Although it may not be apparent to you when they are making their demands, these individuals are usually fighting off a deep-seated sense of their own helplessness and impotence. By becoming proficient at trying to control other people, they are warding off their own fear of being out of control and helpless.
  11. Imitate some level forgiveness and professional calmness without lowing the level of your guard. You do no not need to be openly hostile while collecting stones: all information about their anger attacks and tantrums should be carefully recorded and maintained ready for HR but your demeanor and communication should always be strictly professional Remember that within most micromanagers there is a good measure of paranoia. They usually can read you very well and unless you masquerade this by calmness you might be unpleasantly surprised by preemptive actions micromanagers take if they became afraid of your retaliation. Believe me, they will be first to HR and better prepared then you might think...
  12. Beware micromanagers lackeys. One common micromanagers survival strategy is to surround themselves with staff members who mirror their personality and work style. Getting one of two patsies and communicating via them is a typical strategy. They defuse the responsibility to incompetent actions and also serve as informers.
  13. You can make it much less hurting psychologically if you consider your employment and your company to be "not a big deal". Just try to create your little private space. God sometimes test people. People survives in much harsher environment. In order to not feel degraded, humiliated and have your sense of self and self worth assaulted, you need to avoid taking this too seriously. This is, after all, "a small staff" and at the end doe not matter. If one useless corporation exploded in flames due to PIMM activity so be it. One stupid corporation less.

  14. Expect that PIMM lack any compassion. PIMM are usually offended by any suggestion that people under their span of control suffer under their petty dictating style. They consider them self "mentors" or invent some other rationalization. In reality most micromanagers tend to have a obsessive-compulsive personality and their over controlling tendency just reflect this abnormal personality. Most of them fear mistakes to the extent that fear paralyze them. They don't believe that work can be done without their constant intervention and not without a reason -- they are probably the most hated type of managers in this corner office in any organization. Not only people do not want to help them, most of their subordinates can go to a great length to cause them harm.

    Personal insecurity and obsessive-compulsive tendencies are usual driving forces behind PIMM petty behavior. This makes life unbearable for those around him. Again, PIMM will be very surprised (and even offended) when confronted with this frustrating reality. Very often the result of micromanagement is complete disintegration of the team. This creates vicious circle as this actually strengthens the perception of a micromanager, that "employees can't be trusted".

  15. Try to communicate objective information about PIMM real level of competence in companies IT surveys, if any. But beware that sometimes anonymity is not guaranteed...

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[Aug 30, 2017] Survival skills


If stress lingers for a prolonged period of time, it tends to produce the opposite effect, impeding one's ability to survive. In particular, the commentators note the following adverse effects of stress: forgetfulness, inability to sleep, increased propensity to making mistakes, lessened energy, outbursts of rage, and carelessness.[21] None of these symptoms would seem to make survival easier or more likely.

E.B. Motley contends that being faced with a need to survive, there are 7 emotions that arise and must be overcome:

[May 23, 2008] The Resiliency Advantage Master Change, Thrive Under Pressure, and Bounce Back from Setbacks Al Siebert Books

Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars A practical book the provides valuable tools for confronting life's difficult challenges!!!, December 29, 2006

Self-rate yourself on a scale from 1 (meaning little agreement) to 5 (meaning strongly agree) on the following ten items:

(1) In a crisis or chaotic situation, I calm myself and focus on taking useful actions.
(2) I'm usually optimistic, seeing difficulties as temporary and believe things will eventually turn out well.
(3) I can tolerate high levels of uncertainty and ambiguity.
(4) I'm good at bouncing back from difficulties and quickly adapt to new developments.
(5) I'm self-confident and have a healthy concept of who I am.
(6) I prefer to work without a written job description since I'm more effective when I'm free to do what I think is best in each situation.
(7) I trust my intuition and "read" people well.
(8) I'm a good listener and have good empathy skills.
(9) I've been made stronger and better by difficult experiences.
(10) I've converted misfortune into good luck and even found benefits in bad experiences.

A low score of (under 25) means your resiliency skills are weak and you would greatly benefit from this amazing, easy-to-read, psychobabble-free book by Dr. Al Siebert, a clinical psychologist and Director of "The Resiliency Center". (`Resiliency' means (i) coping well with ongoing negative change (ii) sustaining good health and energy under constant pressure (iii) bouncing back from setbacks and adversities (iv) changing to a new way of living and working when an old way no longer works (v) and doing all this without acting in harmful ways.)
A middle score of (25 to 45) means your resiliency skills are adequate but probably can be greatly enhanced by using this book.
A high score of (over 45) means you have good resiliency skills and this book will validate many things you are doing right.

This book in a nutshell presents five resiliency "levels" or skills (level four is divided into 4 sub-levels while level 5 is divided into 3 sub-levels) so, in affect, the reader is presented with ten essential resiliency skills that Siebert has distilled from "the emerging new science of resiliency psychology." This book, besides other important things, shows you how to:

(1) Sustain strong, healthy energy in non-stop pressure and change
(2) Bounce back quickly from setbacks
(3) Gain strength from adversities
(4) Convert misfortune into good fortune
(5) Overcome tendencies to feel like a victim, and stay detached from victim reactions of others
(6) Overcome the three main resiliency barriers.

Who is this book written for? Siebert explains: "The resiliency guidelines in this book focus mainly on resiliency in the workplace, but they apply broadly to all aspects of life." (Actually, I think Siebert is being too restrictive in saying that these principles "focus mainly on resiliency in the workplace." Personally, I think these principles are essential to know so as to effectively play the game of life.)

What will this book NOT tell you? It "will not tell you what to do or how to act or think...Resilient people are those who decide that somehow, some way, they will do the very best they can to survive, cope, and make things turn out well." This book helps you develop your own unique way of being resilient by being both self-reliant and socially responsible.

As a physically disabled person, my personal favorite chapter was entitled "Mastering Extreme Resiliency Challenges." Included here are true stories from 9/11 survivors. I feel Siebert outdoes himself in this penultimate chapter.

Finally, this book has some key features. Important definitions, exercises, and other important and essential information are isolated from the main narrative as inserts so as to highlight key ideas. Each chapter is broken up into sections with anecdotes, examples, and true stories instead of having one long narrative. At the end of each chapter are insightful "Resiliency Development Activities" that help you utilize and think about the information from each chapter.

In conclusion, this is truly a helpful and unique book. Discover for yourself why this book was named the winner of the 2006 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the "Self Help" category at BookExpo America (the largest book publishing event in the United States) and why it was endorsed by the past president of the American Psychological Association!!

5.0 out of 5 stars Our Life is Not Determined By What Happens But How We React, October 28, 2005

By Norman Goldman "Editor of" (Montreal) - See all my reviews
After reading Dr. Al Siebert's enlightening book, The Resiliency Advantage, I was reminded of the old adage that was often drummed into me by my parents, that our life is not determined by what happens to us but how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitudes we bring to life. Thinking positively creates a chain reaction pertaining to our thoughts, events and outcomes-a kind of catalyst that can create extraordinary results.

Siebert begins his book by telling his readers how he came to the conclusion that clinical psychology and psychiatry are not mental health professions but rather mental illness professions. There does not seem to be any focus on what makes individuals mentally healthy, but rather on what causes mental illnesses and how do we go about treating these illnesses.

This prompted Siebert to do extensive research as to why some people survive many of life's ordeals while others seem to continually flounder. As a result of his thirst for knowledge of the subject matter he developed a good understanding of what he calls "the survivor personality."

In 1996 he published his first book on the topic, "The Survivor Personality," and we now have the follow up, The Resiliency Advantage, that reflects the tremendous amount of knowledge Siebert accumulated in his search for the causes and effects of the survivor personality.

According to Siebert there exist several levels of resiliency that he deals with in depth in his book:

In order to reinforce the learning of these principles, Siebert provides many exercises, as well as brief case histories showing just how they work out in practice.

There is some excellent material in this book, particularly the sections dealing with learning from failures, benefits of curious and playful questioning, the power of positive expectations, hope, optimism, and self-reliance. It is also heartening to learn, as the author points out, that resiliency psychology, a relatively new discipline, is making good progress and is now recognized as quite vital in understanding how it can help people fare better during adversity and recover more quickly from life's ordeals.

Writing about new disciplines is always a challenge, given the negative feedback one often receives from the traditionalists. However, Siebert has risen to the occasion with his breezy style of writing, and he admirably presents an accessible work that could have easily strayed, leaving his readers with a sense of boredom.

Norm Goldman Editor of Bookpleasures

[Jan 27, 2007] - Managing Life Column

This is too superficial column, which underestimates the dangers that micromanager represents.

Q: I work for a micromanager. He even wants to see draft emails before I press the send button! How do I regain my autonomy and get him to see the benefits of backing off?

A: Autonomy is clearly a workplace hallmark. What with our history of intellectual freedom and enduring track record of tenure in the world of business, you could naturally confuse corporate Big Bro' with academia's Ivory Tower.

Institutional expectations aside, you would be wise to ask yourself: "Did I do something to deserve working for the devil?" Not so much were you a stock promoter in a past life, but have you done something on the job to reduce trust in your work? Perhaps you inadvertently emailed draft downsizing plans to your media list instead of your board list. Maybe the fact that your background checks on new hires are cursory explains why you have such a high percentage of convicted stalkers on the team.

Also, determine if the micromanagement is directed exclusively at you or if it applies across-the-board to your colleagues. Some quick tests include noting if your boss checks to see if the wastebaskets are emptied overnight or obsessively tracks the auditor's dealings with your offshore shell companies.

If nothing comes to mind, don't blame yourself. Micromanagers are people who confuse hands-on with cavity searches.

You can either refuse to bend over or beat them to the punch.

Get your leader to focus his micromanagement energy in areas where he has genuine talents. Sit down together and articulate your real needs for supervision. Specifically, you might like more scrutiny when shredding company documents or mentorship for your phone manner while desiring no oversight whatsoever when it comes to submitting your company's Form 10 to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Overload your micromanager with up-front information, draft plans and tomes of research. "Cc" him everything. In short, make your work such a flamboyantly open book that he quickly moves from titillation to saturation.

Bore him rigid. Spend his time explaining your approach and processes, preferably while blocking the doorway when he's late for a flight. Hold up a thick binder and offer to elaborate in the limo en route to the airport.

Invite loads of feedback. In fact, insist upon it. Formalize your micromanagement expectations. Create elaborate sign-off processes. Once he sees himself designated publicly as both "champion" and "proofreader" for the same project he may feel compelled to pursue deep Jungian analysis, or at least back off.

Itemize the bottom-line costs of bottlenecking using the fiscal minutiae that your leader craves. He'll soon come to see that the company could retain numerous Top Five micromanagement consultants in lieu of his contributions. Agree to do without the unnecessary expense and opportunity loss altogether, and he no longer has to forgo generally accepted accounting principles to demonstrate profit.

Think of your boss as your work-share partner. Let him know that you appreciate the valuable time he takes every day and allow that you'd be willing to help him take a load off, say, by attending the Luxemburg junket on his behalf. At the very least, offer to "spend more time with his family."

A corollary to this tactic is to delegate up, taking astute advantage of Mr. Top's obvious masochistic fantasies about actually working for you. Provide him with the rare opportunity to produce a "deliverable". Give him a deadline. When you receive his work be sure give it a perfunctory read in his presence and mutter something vague about how disappointed you are that it didn't "fulfill the brief". Let him know that he might be a better fit with another in-house team, especially if he continues taking his medication.

If it turns out that you're still feeding a black hole of neediness, redirect your micromanager. Turn him on to others in your organization who thrive on oversight. Introduce him to corporate conundrums so complex that he'll be lost in them for weeks: Is Bob's human cloning project ethical? Is casual day unnecessarily scuppering the age-old sexualization of co-workers? Sign him up for task forces and committees. Boards-of-Trade offer interminable options.

If nothing else, simply bask in the attention. More people die each year from neglect than from The Man's eternal vigilance.

Copyright Catherine Warren.

Managing Life is a weekly column published Fridays in the Vancouver Sun.

[Jan 20, 2007] Bullying, incompetence, power hunger, harassment and privacy invasion are just a few characteristics of a bad boss by Chandra Fox

May 7, 2006 (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Sometimes bosses bully their employees in the hopes of achieving better results. Little do they know, that they could be doing more harm than good.

How do you deal with this? Be professional not emotional.

Have an unemotional discussion with your boss about disagreements rather than a confrontation.

Be sure to get a clear objective from your boss on tasks that are ambiguous.

Handle a tough boss with professionalism, document everything, have an objective eye on your performance and use positive reinforcement for positive behavior.

These actions should stop the behavior and allow a change to occur.

Are you constantly having to prove yourself, then not getting any credit for your hard work? Or does your boss reward your best efforts?

By Marie

May 8, 2006 10:44 AM | Link to this

I'm with Jenny. My boss is the devil and I have sold my soul to the devil because of the salary. He does have moments of niceness, but then his evil side takes over and he starts throwing phones across the room and screaming at me and everyone else for mistakes he has made. I'm usually on pins and needles waiting for him to go ballistic over something I can't foresee or have no control over. I deal with it by being indifferent. I don't cry over it, since I know that I haven't done anything wrong and know that he is just insane. I do feel stress and anxiety at times though. Our company has less than 10 people, so he constantly reminds everyone here that normal labor laws (harassment, etc.) don't apply to us.

By G

May 8, 2006 11:37 AM | Link to this

Neither one. He's just a good boss, and I'm grateful to have him.

I've never had a boss who's a saint, but I have had a few demons over the years. Micromanagement, utter lack of trust in anyone other than themselves, total humorlessness, arrogance, utterly uncaring about the effects of their decisions on others, letting their emotions rule their decision-making instead of logic, and so on.

Decent human consideration for workers makes for loyalty and employees who'll go the extra mile. Idiots who only see workers as commodities to be managed ignore the motivation factor at their own peril.

[Jan 20, 2007] When it comes to the movies, some of the worst examples of bad bosses have been women

When it comes to the movies, some of the worst examples of bad bosses have been women.

In the 1980s, Sigourney Weaver played the ruthless Katharine Parker, who steals her employee's idea in Working Girl. Demi Moore's portrayal of a vengeful, lying Meredith Johnson in 1994's Disclosure made some men fearful of a sexual harassment claim.

More recently, Meryl Streep played a pitchfork-less but equally evil magazine editor in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. Her white hair and icy demeanor matched her when-hell-freezes-over demands.

[Jan 20, 2007] Women Managing Women Problem Areas Women Leaders Encounter by Nan Mooney

Mar 01, 2006 |

... ... ...

Banning the Micromanager

Many women abandon the traditional corporate world because they're sick of a macho work culture where they have to do twice as much to prove themselves while someone's always looking over their shoulder waiting for them to screw up. But once on our own, it can be difficult to relax these hyper-vigilant standards. This can be especially true with your own business, where everything that goes out the door has your name attached. But you're going to have to learn to let go.

We'll assume you've hired competent, innovative women to work under you. If you insist on supervising every last detail, you're sending the message that you don't trust them to handle anything on their own. That's a sure way to breed apathy, or even worse, resentment. Because women are often more attuned to relationships and more sensitive to feedback, they can be especially prone to interpreting your micromanaging as criticism. It's worth the risk to give them some autonomy and even allow them to make the occasional mistake. They'll work harder if they feel like their input matters

[Jan 16, 2007] First Gentleman - RFL Leading up - when you're being micromanaged


Last week I addressed RFL to the micro-manager that lurks within each of us. I offered some suggestions to help managers bring out their employees' best through expecting good things, listening, and seeking win-win approaches. I promised I would write this week through the eyes of the frustrated person who feels micromanaged in their work. Is there anything they can do to lead their boss to a more productive approach?

I suggested last week, that managers should not kid themselves with either of these thoughts:

(a) "I never micromanage," because almost all of us do it, or

(b) the "only reason I manage so tightly is because my employees just can't do it right."

Such denials and self-fulfilling prophecies keep bosses from seeking ways that they can bring more out of their workers. Looking "up" at the micromanager also easily brings its self deceptions. For instance, we tell ourselves that our boss knows how impossible and annoying he is being, or darn it, if he doesn't know, he should! Such statements are convenient, for they take us off the hook. In fact, it's possible that a manager - especially a fairly young one, or one in a bureaucratic or fear-oriented culture - has never been told how stifling his or her behavior is. Most likely, they have some sense of it in general. They know they're a bit "anal," or they've learned through Myers-Briggs or other personality inventories, or through 360s, that they have this tendency to over-steer. But it is one thing to know one has a tendency to do something, and completely another to be aware of the frequency of this behavior, or see its regular occurrences. So, step one is to be open to the realities of human nature: people often don't realize how their behavior negatively affects others. And, of course, if we don't tell them, how can we expect they'll get better with it?

Now, I hear you saying, "Yes, and knowing human reality also means that nobody likes to be criticized, so if we tell the emperor he's wearing his birthday suit, he's likely to fight back -- to shoot the messenger!" Yes. There is risk. It's that simple. Leadership - asking people to be better, to do more, to change their habits - always involves risk. And "leading up" means you don't have the formal authority. So, how do you minimize the risk? Here's an approach for your consideration.

First, as in all good leadership, share a vision. Describe a world that your follower - in this case your boss - would likely wish to pursue. So, you say, "George, I really think our team could produce much better for you than we are now. And I think I could do more and better for you. I think we have more talent than we're tapping. I have some thoughts on how we can do better in our division." You are doing two things here: painting a picture, a vision; and, you are thinking through your boss' eyes. How can he not be curious? How can he not want to know? You wait, until he inevitably, in some form or fashion says, "You have an idea? Tell me."

Then you have to do something hard: you have to be willing to give feedback. And just your own feedback. You're going to want to be like Maxwell Smart in the old TV sitcom Get Smart, when he'd say, "Go ahead and tie me up; you won't get away with it, because the entire Los Angeles police department has this building surrounded." And of course, when his enemies in C.H.A.O.S expressed disbelief, he would finally fall back to something like, "Would you believe there are two black-belt Karate-trained grannies outside wielding automatic umbrellas?"

Speaking for others won't work: it may intimidate the boss, it may compromise your relationships with your colleagues, and you may not get their feedback right. Instead, you have to let your reinforcements go. You have to speak for your own self. Period. So, you say, "Sir, may I give you some feedback from my own experience here?" This usually gets a cautious "of course." And then you say, "Last week, when I was working on X, you got very involved in the details of the work. You may well be able to do my job better than I do, sir, but there are hidden costs to it. And I trust you enough to be honest about that." Then share some of the cost: "Instead of just me spending 5 hours on it, we both ended up spending 5 hours."

Or, "I have a hard time attacking the job, when I think you are going to rethink or rewrite what I have done. I find myself second-guessing my work and the quality and efficiency suffer."

Or, "When you don't give me the authority to negotiate, then the other side doesn't take the negotiation seriously, and then you'll end up having to do it all, in which case I'm not generating value for you." Notice that each tries to describe behavior, and describe a cost.

Then just stop and listen. You merely want to give feedback. You don't want to win! (See last week's on win-lose and either-or.) You merely want your boss to think about the full consequences. If you are trying to make him wrong, I guarantee he will NOT hear. If he is mature enough to ask for more, then great; give more of your perspective, thoughts, ideas, suggestions. If instead he seems to shut down, thank him for listening; perhaps he's getting it, but it's hard to admit it. Perhaps he needs to think about it more. Perhaps he'll tell you later that it helped, or maybe it will help but he'll never say so. If on the other hand, he attacks, you probably want to cut your losses.

If you sense he is getting defensive - or worse, offensive in response, thank him for letting you offer the feedback. You may now have a lot to think about; your worst expectations are confirmed. But isn't it better to test reality, than to be confined by what may not be real?

The upside possibility is that you may run into a manager who really wants to learn and wants you to be your best. You may have begun a really productive dialogue from which you can learn and your boss, too, can improve. Great things can happen then. In any case,

It takes some courage to ...

Lead with your best self,


Daniel Granholm Mulhern
First Gentleman, Office of the Governor State of Michigan
(517) 241-0534

[Jan 14, 2007] When Your Boss Is a Micromanager by Rick Brenner

December 5, 2001 |

What you can do is change the way you experience the micromanagement. You can cope effectively if you keep some basics in mind.

Everyone feels the pain
Micromanaging hurts people, and that's sad. Micromanagers are also in pain. They take on the burdens of micromanagement in a futile attempt to stop their pain. Everyone is caught in the same painful place. \
"The problem is never the problem - the coping is the problem." - Virginia Satir
Most micromanagers don't want your help with their micromanagement. Work on changing your own experience instead.
Since micromanagement is a way of asserting control, try to understand what your boss sees as out of control. Recall a time when you felt things were out of your control. How did you cope?
You still like some things about your job
What do you like about your job? The work? The pay? The independence you still have? Move it to the center of your work life. Celebrating it creates energy for dealing with the more difficult parts of your job.
You have choices
You can choose to work elsewhere. That choice might not be appealing, but you can choose it. If you stay, stay because staying is the best option available.

Wagner's 10 Rules of Combat by Jim Wagner

What has resulted from my observations are 10 rules that I believe are the key elements to surviving an actual hand-to-hand combat.

  1. Be in good physical condition. In addition to be able to endure prolonged fights and be more resistant to injuries, being physically fit will also increase your "command presence" (a police term which means that you gain respect by appearing as a formidable foe).
  2. Do not be devoted to any one particular fighting system or instructor. If you are serious about reality-based training, and all you want to know is how to defend yourself, then you must diversify. Study as many fighting systems, from as many qualified instructors as you can. For example: to be good a punching you might study boxing for six months, then move on. To know how to fight on the ground take six months of ju jitsu and move on. To become lethal with knives and other non-projectile weapons you need to enroll yourself in a Filipino Kali (also known as Arnis or Escrima). Six months later go take some Israeli Krav Maga for practical street fighting techniques. By exploiting the fundamental principles from each system, you will not ever fall into a trap of the "group think" mentality.
  3. Keep it simple. Without doubt, almost half of what you know can be eliminated. In real fights, when your safety is at risk, your mind and body will force you to use gross motor skills, whether you like it or not. This means that the complicated techniques you may be practicing will give way to primitive methods of survival. If you don't believe me, go up to someone better you full contact. Thus, instead of wasting valuable training time practicing fany moves you will never use, become highly proficient at the few techniques that will actually work � low thrust kicks, elbow and knee strikes, eye goudging, hard-hitting closed-fist strikes, hair pulling, etc.
  4. Train hard to fight easy. In the American Military we have an expression, "The more you bleed in training, the less you bleed in battle." You must always train harder than what you may face in real life. The average street fight lasts for 15-30 seconds, therefore you must practice "all out: for a full minute or more. Instead of bowing to your training partner and practicing your techniques, run 2.5 kilometers first, then try them (this simulates the exhaustion of the battle). Instead of sparring with one person, go up against two or three. Always push yourself to the point of near exhaustion when you train.
  5. Positive mental attitude. The true warrior is never defeated mentally. He or she has a grasp on what we call, "the will to survive." In some people it is stronger than others. Likewise, there are cowards who would not fight if their life depended on it. The will to survive is developed by pushing your training to the limit mentally (through role playing and increasing your pain tolerance threshold) and physically (trusting in reality-based techniques). Of course, an actual combat experience that you may have reinforces the will to survive.
  6. Scenario training (role playing). It's not enough to just know how to do fighting techniques, you must know in what context to use them. Most martial arts schools have their students bow to one another, get I into a prepatory stance, then begin fighting. But, this is not the way it happens in real life. There are sudden bar fights, terrorist attacks, arguments that erupt into fighting, and the list goes on. Therefore you have to approach at least1/3 of your training like you would as is preparing a theatre production: actors, a script, props, and a story line (the other thirds would be practicing various techniques and conditioning). In other words, you must simulate events you are most likely to encounter as a civilian: robberies, bar fights, sexual assaults, and other modern violence. Doing it right requires wearing the proper clothes, creating a temporary, but realistic environment, and have your actors behave in a convincing manner. Military and police units do this all the time. It's about time that civilian schools follow.
  7. Practice from A to Z. Let me start with an example. If you are practicing knife defense you don't just say "attack me!" then do your technique, and that's all. There are certain events that lead up to a knife attack, and a chain of events even after the knife attack; this is of course part of your scenario homework to know what usually takes place. Practicing from A to Z means.

    a. Being aware of your surroundings before an attack
    b. Have a plan of action prior to the attack
    c. Handle the crisis (using the techniques that apply)
    d. Follow-up (escape, take the suspect into custody, simulate calling the police, treating injuries, ect.)
  8. Dress as you fight. Do you ever wear a business suit? Then practice fighting in one. Do you ever wear a heavy jacket in the winter? Learn how to punch and ground fight in one. Do you wear shoes or boots? Now you get the idea. The more you train in various "street clothes" the better prepared you will be in actual combat. For most of my courses that I teach, I make my military and police students wear everything they would wear in a real mission � minus the live ammunition and other hazardous weapons.
  9. Adaptability. True warriors are flexible, and able to change tactics with the situation. Combat is fluid, so you can't be burdened with wanting to throw your "favorite" techniques. One way to learn how to rapidly adapt is to have your training partner introduce a surprise without your knowledge. For example; you may be working on ground techniques, when suddenly your partner pulls out a concealed knife (rubber training knife) and you have to unexpectedly deal with it. Or, you could be fighting with one partner and half way through the fight another student comes into the room to help you like a Good Samaritan. How would you coordinate your attack?
  10. Aggressive Defense. Many people think self-defense means waiting for the attacker to throw the first punch. However, if you feel at anytime you, or someone else is in danger of immediate bodily injury or death, international law states that you have the right to defend yourself. (Check your own local laws to know your rights. Therefore, if you have to strike first, then do it. That's why scenario training is important � to understand the signs of imminent conflict. Also, during a fight you must think "do as much damage as necessary, as fast as possible" to overload the attackers senses and to stop him. Put him on the defensive with pre-empted attack or immediate counterattack. Adopt the military mentality, "attack the attacker."

[Jan 14, 2007] Tips for coping with a micromanager by Jeff Davis

Sept 7, 2002 |

("Begin to document the micromanagement in writing," she said. "If the micromanager says one thing but acts out something else, you need to document that pattern."

According to O'Brien, when the micromanager gives you an assignment, you should follow up with an e-mail message like this: "This is my understanding of the assignment and the time line. If this is incorrect, please get back to me."

O'Brien said that the next step is to go to human resources with your documentation. However, in O'Brien's experience, this tactic may backfire. If the HR department intervenes, the employee may face the prospect of retaliation.

If you don't get satisfaction from human resources, O'Brien recommends going to an outside source, such as an employee assistance program or a career counselor, to get some help and a plan to deal with the situation.

"Get your job search up and running," O'Brien said.

She believes that working for a micromanager is a no-win situation that can adversely affect your health and your career. "Micromanagers make you feel like you never do enough," said O'Brien. "No matter how well you think you're doing, micromanagers make you feel like you never do anything right, and that your job is in jeopardy."

[Dec 29, 2006] Tips for coping with a micromanager

Option 3 is your best tactical soln.
"Drowning them in compliance" is the best method. At the core, they are VERY insecure individuals who believe they need complete control to either:

1) Prevent their perceived (or real) incompetence from being revealed
2) Looking bad and being revealed as the "fake" they feel they are

Currently I work for a programmer turned manager who adds features at the drop of a dime because "eventually she is sure the user base will want them," delaying testing for weeks which turn into months. And potentially making it look like I'm taking forever to get something out. What's worse is we work in a very degree and credential heavy industry. She only has a high school diploma. I've got a graduate degree.

I personally don't think of it as very relevant, but she has mentioned it multiple times..

I figure my best bet is to drown her in compliance, track all changes, and just document everything as stated above. The one guy there who is fully in her good graces does exactly that. Tracks everything, agrees with everything she does and says, you name it.

At best, it can be used as a "I write down everything you say and keep track of every detail because it's all SOOO important and I am learning so much from you oh wise one" sort of tool.

At worst, when it hits the fan, it can be "Hey, I am being micromanaged in a ridicuous way and here's the proof. (Used only when things turn REALLY ugly as a last resort).

As I need the paycheck, I'm adopting the "when in Rome strategy" outlined above. But I'll be leaving sooner than later.

As for the article content above, the guy recommending "assertive communication" is on crack. Sure, in every day life it would make sense. But to say that to an insecure boss.. Questioning their orders is tantamount to suicide, especially if you like the firm as a whole. They can and will make your life a living hell.

The second bit about it being more of an ingrained personality trait seems more on track, as well as the leaving part.

But for GOD SAKE, leave HR out of it. They are there to protect the company from lawsuits, help managers deal with job seekers, serve the current power structure, and help you fill out your benefits paperwork. And that is ALL.

[Dec 24, 2006] Controlling micromanagers by Connie Glaser

Most of us have had the misfortune of working for a control freak at some point in our careers. If so, you know how frustrating it can be to have a supervisor who is simply impossible to please.

If you're not accused of "exercising poor judgment," you're criticized for "lack of initiative." These micromanagers can put a serious dent in your self-esteem.

Marie, a manager at a large cosmetics company, knows about micromanagers first hand. "My boss is always hovering over my shoulder and second guessing everything I do. She insists that everything be done her way -- even when my way works just as well or even better:"

These hands-on micromanagers are typically perfectionists. They oversupervise, hoard information and often delegate tasks to subordinates, but rarely the responsibility or authority to accomplish those tasks. Their philosophy: "No one can do it as well as I can."

Insecurity and fear of failure are the driving forces behind a control freak's persistent meddling. "On the plus side, these bosses tend to be very conscientious, take their responsibilities seriously, and are dedicated and hard-working," says Dr. Reed Moskowitz, medical director of the Stress Disorders Center at New York University Medical Center, where bad bosses are a common complaint.

micromanagers can drive you nuts trying to achieve your -- and their -- goals. To stay sane and keep a control freak off your back, your best bet is to think of this type of boss as concentration camp SS guard.

"The best way to deal with a control freak is to drown her in information," says Moskowitz. "The more you give and the less she has to worry about, the more she'll let go."

Reassure the control freak that you're on her side while simultaneously sabotaging stupid initiatves and asserting your own work style.

Try to hand in everything on time, quality does not matter-- when you do, point out that you've met your boss's deadline and conformed to her specifications. If you consistently do what you say, when you say you'll do it, a control freak is likely to back off or go away and bother somebody less reliable.

The Many Faces of micromanagers - Library - Pervin Family Business Advisors Inc.

That's why controllers are usually manipulators rather than dictators. And that's why control mongers rarely see themselves as responsible for the havoc they cause. After all, they are trying to suppress change � and therefore it is precisely because they are not in control of others that bad things happen.

So with this understanding that the need for control arises from fear, not power madness, let me introduce you to the four leading control artists who most frequently enter my office.

Keep in mind that it's often difficult to separate these characters � they often come in as amalgams � but I'm sure you'll recognize them:

Control Freak

I've seen micromanagers several times in my career and now I can characterise the symptoms. There are some people who think that the team they are part of only includes those who are their equal in the hierarchy and their manager. They simply don't see themselves as part of a team with the people who work for them.

This affects all of their relationships with their team. Specifically:

This is so demoralising for the team involved, since, more than anything, this is disrespectful. It also fragments the team, stops them seeing the bigger picture and thereby reduces their effectiveness.

It even ends up significantly undermining the manager concerned since they are refusing all the support they could otherwise get from a loyal team.

61% of Bosses Are micromanagers - With Female Bosses The Worst

May 1, 2006


Melbourne, Australia, - A study on employee management released today reveals that a whopping 61% of employees consider their boss to be a control freak.

Conducted by employee management expert, Anna Johnson - author of the controversial, soon-to-be-released employee management book, How To Manage People (Even If You're A Control Freak!) - the study also reveals that:

-- 68% of employees with a female boss consider her to be a control freak.
-- 57% of employees with a male boss consider him to be a control freak.

The study involved 385 employees from around the world responding to a survey, "Is Your Boss A Control Freak?" located at The majority of respondents (68%) had a male boss, while 32% had a female boss.

"I was stunned when I saw the results," said Ms Johnson. "I always thought a lot of managers were micromanagers - hence my book - but I didn't realise that the vast majority were micromanagers!"

According to Ms Johnson, a "control freak" is someone with a fundamental need to control what he or she does and what happens to him or her.

Ms Johnson was particularly surprised that so many women managers were regarded as micromanagers.

"You wonder whether it's because women managers really are more controlling... or because women in management positions are perceived to be more controlling..." she said.

Dealing With micromanagers by Thomas J. Schumacher

by Thomas J. Schumacher, Psy.D., R-CSW
More About Thomas...

Most all of you have had to contend with micromanagers. These are those people who insist on having their way in all interactions with you. They wish to set the agenda and decide what it is you will do and when you will do it. You know who they are � they have a driving need to run the show and call the shots. Lurking within the fabric of the conversation is the clear threat that if you do not accede to their needs and demands, they will be unhappy.

Certainly, it's natural to want to be in control of your life. But when you have to be in control of the people around you as well, when you literally can't rest until you get your way � you have a personality disorder. While it's not a diagnostic category found in the DSM IV (the therapist's bible for diagnostic purposes) an exaggerated emphasis on control is part of a cluster of behaviors that can be labeled as compulsive generally characterized by perfectionism, orderliness, workaholic tendencies, an inability to make commitments or to trust others and a fear of having their flaws exposed. Deep down, these people are terrified of being vulnerable. They believe they can protect themselves by staying in control of every aspect of their lives, including their relationships. micromanagers take the need and urge to control to new heights, causing others stress so they can maintain a sense of order. These people are riddled with anxiety, fear, insecurity, and anger. They're very critical of themselves their lover and their friends, but underneath that perfect outfit and great body is a mountain of unhappiness. Let's look at what makes micromanagers tick, what makes you want to explode, and some ways to deal with them.

The Psychological Dynamics That Fuel a Control Freak

The need to control is almost always fueled by anxiety � though micromanagers seldom recognize their fears. At work, they may worry about failure. In relationships, they may worry about not having their needs met. To keep this anxiety from overwhelming them, they try to control the people or things around them. They have a hard time with negotiation and compromise and they can't stand imperfection. Needless to say, they are difficult to live with, work with and/or socialize with.

Bottom Line: In the process of being controlling, their actions say, "You're incompetent" and "I can't trust you." (this is why you hate them). Remember, the essential need of a control freak is to defend against anxiety. Although it may not be apparent to you when they are making their demands, these individuals are attempting to cope with fairly substantial levels of their own anxiety. The control freak is usually fighting off a deep-seated sense of their own helplessness and impotence. By becoming proficient at trying to control other people, they are warding off their own fear of being out of control and helpless. Controlling is an anxiety management tool.

Unfortunately for you, the control freak has a lot at stake in prevailing. While trying to hold a conversation and engage them in some way, their emotional stakes involve their own identity and sense of well-being. Being in control gives them the temporary illusion and sense of calmness. When they feel they are prevailing, you can just about sense the tension oozing out of them. The control freak is very frightened. Part of their strategy is to induce that fear in you with the subtle or not so subtle threat of loss. Since the emotional stakes are so high for them, they need to assert themselves with you to not feel so helpless. To relinquish control is tantamount to being victimized and overwhelmed. When a control freak cannot control, they go through a series of rapid phases. First they become angry and agitated, then they become panicky and apprehensive, then they become agitated and threatening, and then they lapse into depression and despair.

Repetition Compulsion

micromanagers are also caught in the grip of a repetition compulsion. They repeat the same pattern again and again in their attempt to master their anxiety and cope with the trauma they feel. Characteristically, the repetition compulsion takes on a life of its own. Rather than feel calmer and therefore have a diminished need to be controlling, their behavior locks them into the same pattern in an insatiable way. Successes at controlling do not register on their internal scoreboard. They have to fight off the same threat again and again with increasing rigidity and intransigence.

Two Types of micromanagers

Type 1 micromanagers: The Type 1 control freak is strictly attempting to cope with their anxiety in a self absorbed way. They just want to feel better and are not even very aware of you. You will notice and hear their agitation and tentativeness. They usually do not make much eye contact when they are talking to you.

Type 2 micromanagers: The Type 2 control freak is also trying to manage their anxiety but they are very aware of you as opposed to the Type 1 control freak. The Type 2 needs to diminish you to feel better. Their mood rises as they push you down. They do not just want to prevail; they also need to believe that they have defeated you. They need you to feel helpless so they will not feel helpless. Their belief is that someone must feel helpless in any interchange and they desperately do not want it to be them. The Type 1 needs control. The Type 2 needs to control you.

Some Coping Strategies

1) Stay as calm as you can. micromanagers tend to generate a lot of tension in those around them. Try to maintain a comfortable distance so that you can remain centered while you speak with them. Try to focus on your breathing. As they get more agitated and demanding, just breath slowly and deeply. If you stay calm and focused, this often has the effect of relaxing them as well. If you get agitated you have joined the battle on their terms.

2) Speak very slowly. Again the normal tendency is to gear up and speak rapidly when dealing with a control freak. This will only draw you into the emotional turmoil and you will quickly be personalizing what is occurring.

3) Be very patient. micromanagers need to feel heard. In fact, they do not have that much to say. They have a lot to say if you engage them in a power struggle. If you just listen carefully and ask good questions that indicate that you have heard them, then they will quickly resolve whatever the issue is and calmly move on.

4) Pay attention to your induced reactions. What is this person trying to emotionally induce in you? Notice how you feel when speaking with them. It will give you important clues as to how to deal with them more effectively and appropriately.

5) Initially, let them control the agenda. But you control the pacing. If you stay calm and speak slowly, you will be in command of the pacing of the conversation.

6) Never treat them with kindness. Stay detached but pretend you are not offended. Within most micromanagers is a good measure of paranoia. They are ready to get angry and defend against what they perceive is a controlling hostile world. If you treat them with respect and kindness, their paranoia cannot take root. You will jam them up.

7) Make demands on them-- especially when dealing with the type 2 control freak. Ask them to send you something or do something for you. By asking something of them, you will be indicating that you are not intimidated or diminished by their behavior patterns.

8) Remember an old but poignant Maxim: "Those who demand the most often give the least."

Keep in mind that micromanagers are not trying to hurt you � they're trying to protect themselves. Remind yourself that their behavior toward you isn't personal; the compulsion was there before they met you, and it will be their forever unless they get help. Understand that they are skilled manipulators, artful and intimidating, rehearsed debaters and excellent at distorting reality.

In order to not feel degraded, humiliated and have your sense of self and self worth assaulted, you need to avoid being bulldozed by a controlling boss. When you are caught up in a truly destructive/controlling attachment, the best response may be to walk out. You have to understand that whatever you do will have a limited effect. These people are angry and afraid to let go of you. Hence, it is your job to let go of them, protect yourself in the process� and grow.

Down To Business The Age Of The Control Freak - News by InformationWeek

The micromanagers are calling the shots in corporate America.

In this corporate environment, decisions made outside the box are viewed with skepticism, even fear. Those processes that can't be counted, measured, compartmentalized, tracked, analyzed, automated, or secured very easily are just too unwieldy for comfort. Gut decisions are for old-timers. The young turks view management as a hard science.

The micromanagers are armed with the latest information technologies: radio-frequency identification systems to keep tabs on shipments, inventory levels, and even people; Web site monitoring software to track where employees are going and what they're doing online; keystroke-measurement tools to rate the productivity of call center agents and other workers; data mining algorithms to identify customer needs and anticipate dodgy behavior; dashboards to show business performance in near real time; E-mail monitoring software to identify potentially illegal and noncompliant activity. The arsenal is fully stocked.

Blame the lawmakers and other committees of the good and great for creating an oversight economy with their SOXs and HIPAAs and hundreds of industry-specific regulations. Blame the bad guys--the hackers, the white-collar criminals, the online predators, the screw-ups who can't seem to hold on to anyone's personal data. Most of all, blame the hyperintense, bottom-line world in which we compete, where performance no longer is measured in years and quarters, but in weeks, days, and hours.

Which is to say, don't bother blaming anyone. This is the new reality. So before you start howling about Big Brother gone bonkers, look in the mirror. We're all active, willing participants in this control freak show. It's not just the government bureaucrats and the data aggregators and the huge retailers and the direct marketers who want to know everything they can about you and what you're up to. Every company is using technology to wrap its arms around its people, processes, partners, and customers.

Consider the evolution of E-mail. Employees still use the work messaging system like it's their own personal account, letting fly with all manner of inappropriate, inadvisable, and illegal communications. Meantime, E-mail is discovered in 90% of all corporate litigation. No wonder that companies, many of which are required by law to archive those E-mails for easy retrieval, are now monitoring them in real time for activity that would suggest fraud, regulatory malfeasance, leakage of trade secrets, and other misconduct--under the theory that an ounce of prevention beats a ton of fines and lost business later on.

But control isn't just about monitoring and tracking people and processes. It's also about extracting knowledge. For instance, phone, package delivery, and other companies use predictive analytics to figure out which customers are most likely to bolt for a competitor, so that they can take pre-emptive action. Even major league baseball teams and their tobacco-chewing, crotch-scratching managers employ "sabermetric" techniques to crunch player stats and identify undervalued talent.

Of course, employers and managers can go overboard with this stuff. We must remain keenly aware that creativity doesn't always show up in a spreadsheet column, that the controls intended to measure and boost performance can stifle it if they're applied independent of qualitative analysis.

Menace of Micromanagement

Mostly BS, but contain some useful ideas. Based on Harry Chambers book

In today's business world, certain management people have serious 'control freak' traits - causing a thwarting of imitative, and bringing about lowering standards or possible achievement by creative individuals. Suddenly you become aware of his warm breath in your neck. The boss is watching over your shoulder again.

It doesn't matter how successful or diligent you are. Sooner or later you will report to a micromanager, who obsessively controls and manipulates you to the point of desperation.

By default, a micromanager's sense of empowering people has been surgically removed at birth. A checklist for everything acts as magnetic north. Harry Chambers explains that "micromanagers always have their antennae up, trying to detect � violations".

To you, it might feel like a classical lose-lose situation. If you get frustrated and tell the boss to back off, you get accused of having a bad attitude and not being a team player. If you keep quiet, you get accused of not displaying any initiative. Join the crowd!

The dilemma in today's corporate world is that many teams are totally over-managed and completely under-led. It feels if you are controlled like a robot and second-guessed every step of the way. Rick Brenner calls it "nanomanaging". Everything needs to get approved beforehand and double checked afterwards.

70% of what a micromanager labels as "efficiency" consists of making it complicated for people to perform their daily duties. Micromanagement is exactly the opposite of empowerment.

Employees hate micro-management passionately. They want to be inspired and led. Micromanagers need to learn that they can't and shouldn't force people to be like themselves. The result will always be low morale and decreased productivity. Marcus Buckingham hits the nail on the head: "you can't standardize human behaviour".

[Jan 13, 2006] The Greentree Gazette Don't put a control freak in charge of information access.

Have you put a highly authoritarian personality in charge of your data access projects? Does he or she think it's not a good idea for anyone else to have discretionary access to information?

Data administration and data warehousing are highly collaborative endeavors. They require a "Can't we all get along," approach. A top down, hierarchical approach that discourages input from users is simply not going to work.

Hire information access people whose first instinct is to give users the data they want. Promote the person who wants to give users all available data, rather than the least that can be gotten away with.

[Jan 13, 2006] Control Freak

I've seen this again a few times since then and now I can characterise the symptoms. There are some people who think that the team they are part of only includes those who are their equal in the hierarchy and their manager. They simply don't see themselves as part of a team with the people who work for them.

This affects all of their relationships with their team. Specifically:

This is so demoralising for the team involved, since, more than anything, this is disrespectful. It also fragments the team, stops them seeing the bigger picture and thereby reduces their effectiveness. It even ends up significantly undermining the manager concerned since they are refusing all the support they could otherwise get from a loyal team.

[Jan 13, 2006] AIN'T NO gOD


Speaking of a type of authoritarians, like the principal, who want us to walk lockstep in their version of the truth-too many of them are like those pecking order people in the opening section of today's blog entry or, like Will's people, only too ready to surrender freedom for a comfortably conformist political order. They are authoritarian types and, thus, micromanagers. Many of them display the estimable trait of wanting to help others and so become police officers, military men, nurses, teachers and ministers. Unfortunately, the flip side of wanting to help people can become the practice of controlling them. Helpers are often controllers. "Everything in moderation," a Buddhist might say, "even moderation."

[Jan 13, 2006] Management hack The sweet spot of delegation " Slacker Manager

If you've got the control freak manager, then you probably won't get anything delegated to you, but in the unlikely event that you do, and you accept it, you'll be on a leash the whole time. The best strategy here is to set up a firm front-end agreement as to the outcome, resources and timeline. Also set up regular review meetings, no more frequently than weekly, though the exact timing will depend upon the nature of the project and just how controlling your manager is. The idea here is to provide the control freak manager with sufficient external controls that they feel comfortable letting go. If they keep bugging you, just remind them of the agreement and let them know that the two of you can discuss things at the next regularly scheduled review.

How To Deal With a Difficult Boss by Tristan Loo

Most people at some point in their lives have to deal with a difficult boss. Difficult supervisors vary in personality from being a little pushy or rude, all the way to being downright abusive. Many people feel that an abusive boss has control of their personal life outside of work by lowering their self-esteem and making them live in constant fear. The role of a supervisor sometimes attracts certain controlling-type personalities because they crave the power it gives them and because they lack such control in their own personal lives. A supervisor has complete control over your most basic human needs-your ability to put food on the table and a roof over your head. These are powerful motivating factors that allow a difficult supervisor to control people out of fear of losing these basic needs. We may not be able to always correct their behavior, but we should never have to live in fear and let our difficult boss control our lives.

Here are some strategies on handling a difficult boss situation.

  1. Always have a plan B. Most people are scared about having a discussion with their boss concerning their abusive behavior because they fear reprimand or losing their job as a result of it. Their fear is usually justified if the supervisor is a control-freak and feels that their subordinate is threatening their control. Before you deal with any type of conflict, you always need to have a plan B in case things don't work out. A plan B is the best alternative that you can come up without having to negotiate anything with your boss. In this type of scenario, your best plan B would probably take the form of having an actual job offer in hand with another employer before you have your talk. By not having a back-up plan, you have given your abusive boss even more leverage over you because they know you have no where else to go. Having a plan B, however, empowers you with the ability to walk-away at any time should the negotiation not go right. Increase your power and have a plan B before you deal with the conflict.
  2. Never react to verbal abuse or harsh criticism with emotion. This will always get you into more trouble than you started with because it will become a war between egos and chances are good that your boss has a bigger ego than you have-hence why he is difficult in the first place. When a personal attack is made on you, they are trying to bait you into reacting emotionally because once you react, you become an easy target for additional attacks. The key then is not to react, but to acknowledge and move on. By doing this, you effectively strip all of the power behind their verbal attacks away from your abusive boss, without creating conflict. If your boss happens to be an intimidator or a control freak, then the best way of dealing with their behavior is to remain calm and acknowledge their power by saying, "I'm sorry." By saying this, you take away any chance of them lashing back at you because you have sidestepped [deflected - NNB] their verbal attack rather than meeting it head on.
  3. Discuss rather than confront. When your boss criticizes you, don't react out of emotion and become confrontational with them about it because that just breeds more conflict. Instead, use their criticism as a topic for discussion on interests, goals, and problem-solving and ask them for their advice. If they criticize your work, then that means that they have their own idea on how that work should be done, so ask them for their advice on how your work can be improved.
  4. Manage the manager. A source of conflict usually occurs when a group of employees gets a new manager who demands that things run differently. These changes are usually reactionary in nature because the employees go about their regular duties until the manager comes by and criticizes the way it is being done. Instead of waiting for their criticism, take a proactive approach and be absolutely clear from the very beginning on how your boss wants things to be done so that there is no miscommunication later on. There are many ways of completing a task and having a discussion about them at the very beginning will allow you to see things from their perspective as well as sharing your own with them. Get to know their likes and dislikes inside and out so that you can avoid future criticisms.
  5. Know that you can do little to change them. Being a difficult person is part of their personality and therefore it is a very difficult, if not impossible thing to change in a supervisor, so don't think that you can change how they act. Instead, change the way that you view their behavior. Don't label them as being a jerk--just merely label them as your boss. By avoiding derogatory labeling, you avoid making it easy on yourself to be angry with your boss.
  6. It's better to prevent unnecessary conflict than to manage conflict once the flames have started.
    Stop Creating Conflict
    Click here to preview Conflict Prevention In The Workplace - Using Cooperative Communication
  7. Keep your professional face on. Know the difference between not liking your boss and not being professional. You don't have to make your boss your friend or even like your boss as a person, but you do have to remain professional and get the job done and carry out their instructions dutifully as a subordinate, just as you would expect them to be professional as do their duties as a supervisor.
  8. Evaluate your own performance. Before you go attacking your boss, examine your own performance and ask yourself if you are doing everything right. Get opinions from other coworkers about your performance and see if there is any warrant to the criticisms of your supervisor before you criticize their opinions.
  9. Gather additional support. If others share in your concern, then you have the power of numbers behind you to give you additional persuasion power over your boss. It is often easy for a supervisor to ignore or attack one employee, but it becomes more difficult to attack all of his employees. He might be able to fire one of you, but he will look like an idiot (and probably get fired himself) if he tries to fire all of you. An interdepartment union is a good way of mustering power against an abusive employer.
  10. Don't go to up the chain of command unless it's a last resort. Going straight up the chain of command is not an effective way of dealing with a difficult supervisor because it only increases conflict in the workplace. Your immediate supervisor will consider this a very serious backstabbing maneuver and might seek some sort of retribution in the future against you and your career. Also, other people in your workplace might brand you as a whistleblower because of your actions. Try to discuss issues with your supervisor first and only go up the chain of command as a last resort.
    Stop Letting Conflict Control YOU
    Learn to manage conflict by "using your head", rather than your heart. Find out about pro's and con's of different conflict methods.

    Click here to preview Using Your Head to Manage Conflict Helpcard.

  11. Encourage good behavior with praise. It is easy to criticize your superiors, but criticisms often lead towards resentment and hostile feelings. Everyone likes a pat on the back for good behavior, so you should strive to watch for good behaviors from your supervisor and compliment them on that. Proactive praising is much more effective than reactive criticisms.
  12. Document everything. If you choose to stay with a toxic employer, then document everything. This will become your main ammunition should a complaint ever be filed down the road. Document interactions with them as well as your own activities so that you can remind them of your own achievements at performance review time.
  13. Leave work at work. Get into the habit of leaving work at home and not bringing it into your personal life because that will only add to your level of stress. Keep your professional life separate from your personal life as best as you can. This also includes having friends who you don't work with so that you can detach yourself from your work life rather than bringing it home with you.

How can you deal effectively with a micromanager? Chambers offers the following strategies:

Tips for coping with a micromanager

My experiences....
I have found that stupidity begot stupidity. If we get a "stupid" person in "power", they seem to want to hire more "stupid-er" than they are so that they can look good.
That's my theory and I am sticking to it.

Just blindside them when the time is rig
Just do what I did, I bided my time working for an impossible boss (he was the IT director) and I had worked my way up from being a junior support to be the support supervisor (they didn't have a support manager). He wouldn't make decisions, constantly gave conflicting instructions (even when the originals were in writing).

I lasted 18 months in total for the company, the last 6 were as the supervisor. Then one day I walked and he called me for a meeting to discuss his next 'great plan', I handed him my resignation, he didnt see it coming. I must confess I took immense satisfaction doing this to him but not the company or my co workers.
I keep in touch from time to time but my old boss has not said a single word to me since that day.

Tips for coping with a micromanager/KINGDOM COMPLEX

Micro-managers, NAH-TAH-ZU?
There is that one type of micro manager that wasn't on the list. Perhaps the very worst case senario is the Micro manager that has what I call the KINGDOM complex. He doesn't know what his people are supposed to do yet he meddles in the interworkings of the department, gives conflicting instructions and assignments , dislikes giving instructions in writing etc. His only real goal is to stay in power however necessary.
I had the unfortunate experience of having to work for such a person for a year and a half. he has his own secret police force that keeps him apprised of every word spoken, you can be assured that at least one of you design team members reports around you as the department manager directly to him. He gives hidden instruction to a lakey and lakey communicate it to you.
This morning he is your best friend , this afternoon he is charging all of his problems to your incompetence.
This type of manager cannot exist without having a weak CEO and damanged or doomed corporation.
But there is supreme logic in his behavior: his only interest and ultimate goal are to maintain his position regardless of what it takes to include character assassination.
Also unfortunately you can run into this scenario almost anywhere . The work environment is high stress and confrontations can become almost violent. The proverbial NO WIN Senario. The only way to win is not to play.

I thought I would recognize the signs of a micro-managers with the "kingdom" complex -- lacks core competencies, exaggerates accomplishments, refers to past jobs and successes often, lacks understanding of technical issues (often recites other people's explanations when called to give updates), and so on.

But I didn't see any of this when our new IT Manager was hired. In an introductory meeting with her, she talked about teamwork, trust, and all those other warm and fussy ideas. How do you identify a micro-manager from a half an hour conversation?

Recommended Links


Are You A Control Freak

Coping With Your Difficult Older Parent: A Guide for Stressed Out Children by Grace LeBow, et al.
- One Family's Journey Through Alzheimer's by Mary B. Walsh
- Are Your Parents Driving You Crazy? How to Resolve the Most Common Dilemmas with Aging Parents by Joseph Ilardo and Carole Rothman
- Caring for Yourself While Caring for Your Aging Parents by Claire Berman
- Nursing Homes: The Family's Journey by Peter Silin
- Caregiver's Reprive: A Guide to Emotional Survival by Avrene Brandt -- good site


Chambers in his book on micromanagement suggest the formula: Mm = Fr + Cm + micromanagers. In other words: Micromanagement = Fear + Comfort + Confusion. This formula helps him to bring order to the variety of destructive managerial behaviors that fall under the term "micromanagement", including:

Chambers also tries to suggest a simple classification of different types of micromanagers:

  1. First, control of methodology, or managers who insist on having the work done their way. This, says Chambers, is the essence of micromanagement-the behavior of exercising relentless control over the method by which work gets done-and it ranks number one on his micromanagement survey.
  2. The second behavior is control and manipulation of time-an especially intense and frustrating micromanagement behavior.
  3. Third, is excessive monitoring and reporting.
  4. Finally, dysfunctional delegation and collaboration, which takes the form of excessive demands for approval and an inability of the manager to subordinate self.

Those four are distinct behaviors and they can be present in various combinations. For example there are micromanagers that tightly control methodology (procedure freaks) and require excessive reporting (documentation freaks) but do not practice excessive monitoring and do not control time (pure control freaks).

Among negative consequences of micromanagement we can mention:


Chambers is not bad but he is sitting between two chairs. micromanagers are more dangerous preditors then his book (still useful as the almost the only one worth reading on the subject) or interviews suggest.

They exercise raw power. Micromanagers love to flex their muscles--asserting their power and authority just because they can. While unable to subordinate themselves, they control others with an uncompromising sense of entitlement and self-interest.

They dictate time. Micromanagers like to control and manipulate others' time. They don't trust people to assess their own workload, so they routinely dictate priorities and distort deadlines. And while they guard their own time with an iron fist, they're notorious for interrupting others, misusing and mismanaging meetings, and perpetuating crises.

They control how work gets done. Micromanagers want everything to be done their way. After all, the boss knows best--or so they think. They dismiss others' knowledge, experience, and ideas--no matter how good--then hover over them to make sure they're doing things "right."

They require undue approvals. Micromanagers share responsibility, but not authority. As the bottlenecks of the workplace, they allow no one to move forward without their approval--even on routine or time-sensitive matters.

They demand frequent and unnecessary reports. Micromanagers are driven to know what's going on. They monitor others to death--requiring a stream of needless reports that focus on activity over outcomes.

... ... ...

Getting real

Taking personal responsibility is where the rubber hits the road. If you're really serious about succeeding with a micromanager, it's essential to understand the realities.

... ... ...

It's not about fixing him. You can't "fix" a micromanager or force him to change on his own. You can, however, find your own influence to defuse his disruptive behaviors.

... ... ...

Defusing the disruptive behaviors

There are a variety of strategies for dealing with a micromanager. Again, none of them are about "fixing" him. Instead, they're about working to defuse his disruptive behaviors--starting with some practical, sure-fire tips.

... ... ...

Renegotiate priorities. The micromanager is notorious for piling it on. Come up with a simple, straightforward method--such as a numerical or color-coded system-- for renegotiating the ever-shifting priorities.

Be preemptive on deadlines. The micromanager loves to impose and even distort deadlines. Be the first to talk--offering a timeline for when you can do a task (not when you can't).

Play by the rules. The micromanager enjoys catching people in the act. Avoid being an easy target and play by the rules--particularly on policies regarding time and technology.

... ... ...

Pick your battles. The micromanager will go to war on every issue. Don't try to match him. Instead, pick the battles that are most important to you.

Morning Edition, May 25, 2005 � More than three-quarters of Americans say they are micromanaged in the workplace. How many of the are truly macromanaged is difficult to say.

Recommended Papers


A Better Workplace - Conflict Resolution and Win-win Negotiation Articles

[PDF] Aikido and Software Engineering

Workplace Conflict FAQs -- An Interview with Judy Ringer

A Better Workplace - Article Turning Opposition to Understanding Through Akido

Philosophy of war - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Art of War by SunTzu [SunZi] -English Hypertext

The Art of War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Carl von Clausewitz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia His most famous dictum, that war "is merely the continuation of policy by other means," emphasizes his conception of war as one part of normal and pragmatic politics.



Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy


War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes


Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law


Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater�s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D

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Last modified: March, 12, 2019