Micromanager, I've just got to write you a letter to get some things off my chest, because YOU ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY. Seriously, if I don't tell you a few things, I might snap and throw something at you, like a red Swingline stapler.
You are actually a composite of several micromanagers that I have known in my life. Some of you have been my boss, some of you have been my co-worker. A few of you have been my friend, but to be honest, not one of you was a close friend. Because, you know, of the driving-Ellen-crazy thing.
I took a personality test in the past (can't really remember which one... maybe the Myers-Briggs?) in which I had to answer a question to the effect of, "What personality trait drives you the most crazy?" After much pondering, I realized that I can put up with a lot of different personality types and traits. I am endeared toward socially-awkward geeks with all their nerdy Trek talk. I can deal with stupid people, misogynistic Southern jocks and fly-off-the-handle hotheads. I even have a soft spot for Borderlines, in all their dramatic kooky glory. But the one personality type that gets under my skin, much like one of those scarab beetles from The Mummy, is the micromanager.
I know that you are probably wondering what I am talking about, Micromanager, or thinking, "But I am just 'particular'!" No. No, you are not. "Particular" is wanting the crusts cut off your sandwich... it is not measuring the bread loaf, holding the arm of the knife-wielding sandwich maker and then creating a policy guide concerning future acceptable crust to bread ratio.
Oh Micromanager, here are a few examples of the things that you do that make me want to throw my stapler at you:
- refusing to fully delegate tasks to others (it's the "partially" delegating that is the problem... if you are going to delegate, then release it entirely and trust that it will be accomplished. If you can't handle that, then do it entirely yourself.)
- referring to rules or policies that I'm not entirely certain exist, except in your head
- giving me a goal/project to accomplish, being completely satisfied with the outcome of that goal/project but still feeling the need to question the exact steps that I took to reach that goal, even though the goal is already completed and the proposed changed steps would not have affected the end result nor the timeline
- complaining that others refuse to get involved enough in a group task, yet when we do, not giving us enough room, voice or authority to make a difference in the task
- focusing on tiny teeny details, and not the Big Picture
- forcing me to read books about cheese moving, parachute colors or anything by Stephen Covey
- not recognizing the above behavior as slightly controlling, nor having a sense of humor about it
- quietly blending into the background ("Don't notice me. I am wallpaper.") That, of course, never works.
- passive resistance ("Oh, yeah, sure, I'll get around to that later.") That, of course, never works.
- passive-aggressive resistance ("Well, I would have finished that at exactly 9:47 but I couldn't see through the multitude of yellow Post-Its that you left.") That, of course, never works.
- smiling while screaming in my head (quietly nodding while thinking, "ARGH!!!! WHERE IS MY RED SWINGLINE?!") That, of course, never works.
- checking out ("La la la, I'm thinking about the Smoke Monster on Lost right now and there's nothing you can do about it.")
But then, a few years ago, it dawned on me that it's not me. It's you. For this simple reason: you treat everyone in your life this way. Realizing this fact has actually given me a lot more perspective and patience with you.
I still do not know why you feel the need to control everything in your life. I do not know why you tend to forget that people are people, and not just minor characters or robots. I do not know why or how you lost sight of the Big Picture in life. And I will probably never know those things. But I do think that God keeps putting you in my life to teach me how to let go, love and detach. Much like so many other things in my life, I am learning that I cannot change you. You are who you are.
When I find myself recognizing you in my life, time after time, I have learned that I need to do a few things to survive you: overly communicate, keep my opinions to myself and clear all decisions with you. Doing these things (and all of them are personally difficult for me) keeps you happier and slightly less controlling. I have also learned to appreciate that you do get things done, and the final products are generally of excellent quality.
So, dear Micromanager, let us make peace. (But still know that I am probably secretly thinking about the Smoke Monster while you are looking over my shoulder.)
*Notice I didn't end that sentence with a question mark. I did that on purpose, just to get under your skin. It's eating at you, isn't it? There's no question mark and there is nothing you can do about it. You can't stand it. Come on, just admit it. Hee hee!