Management is a one-on-one affair
Have you ever had a performance review where some people say you “walk on water”, or “you can do no wrong” and others say that “you can’t manage effectively” and “I don’t understand how you got to be a manger”?
Or even more confusing, some people say that you give them “plenty of responsibility and authority” while others say you “watch them like a hawk or smother them”.
How do you reconcile these two extremes? If you are a manager, how can your direct reports see you in such a different light? It’s as if you are two different people to them.
And if you are a direct report and you have a different perception of your manager compared to that of your office mates, you might ask yourself, “How can they get it so wrong?”
The key is that management and being managed is always one-on-one. It doesn’t matter if you are managing one person or a hundred. It doesn’t matter if you are the only direct report or one of the hundred. All management is one-on-one.
What that means is that all management ultimately comes down to one and only one relationship. All management comes down to the relationship between the manager and the direct report.
Now lets’ unpack this idea a little more. If it is true that all management is ultimately one-on-one, and if it is true that management is about the relationship between the manager and the direct report, then the differences in perception between one direct report and another must be based on the perception of the direct report regarding the relationship with the manager.
That means that the manager must establish a relationship with the direct report that fosters the kind of interaction that the manager wants. It also means that it can work the other way around as well. It means that the direct report can influence the type of interaction with the manager that produces the relationship the direct report wants.
The way the manager is perceived and the way the direct report is perceived by the manager is a function of who takes the lead in establishing the relationship they want.
Ultimately, this gets us back to micromanagement. Micromanagement doesn’t have to occur…. ever. Micromanagement is not a function of the level of oversight provided by the manager over the direct report. It is a function of the perception of the relationship between the manager and the direct report as it relates to the level of oversight provided by the manager.
It is a function of the perception of the relationship.
I just completed a 3-CD set in which I explain all this and how it woks. The title of the 3-CD set is, “Succeeding Without Micromanagement”. Interested?