Friday, October 21, 2011

How to spot a micro-manager ? Does your handwriting give any clues ?

Those who have experienced the phenomenon of micro-management at work would agree that it is one of the topmost stuff that most of the competent workforce would want to run away from. Those who have not experienced it can consider themselves lucky for sure.
The intent here is not to say or prove that micro-management is always a bad management virtue. It is definitely one of the preferred Management styles in certain specific situations. Infact, i have my self being involved in initiating the same in certain situations detailing with Performance Management, and for the situations at work that warrant taking charge and control. However, i would agree that such situations are not always as frequent but certainly not rare.

Wait, i don’t understand what micro-management is ? Can you help me understand ?
Let me quote a few sources.
Wikipedia defines micro-management as- In business management, micromanagement is a management style where a manager closely observes or controls the work of her or his subordinates or employees. micro-management generally has a negative connotation.

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines micromanagement as-
manage[ment] especially with excessive control or attention on details. defines micro-management as-
manage[ment] or control with excessive attention to minor details.

The online dictionary Encarta defines micro-management as
atten[tion] to small details in management: control [of] a person or a situation by paying extreme attention to small details".

Now may be i understand a bit about it. Can you please help me understand more ?
To me, micro-management is core part of our upbringing as a human. The studies prove that of most of the living species on Earth, the sort of attention and time that humans demand or need (from the time they are born to the time they step out of home usually after Adolescence) to completely get independent is phenomenal. There are scientific reasons for why humans need so much attention, care or parenting but delving into those is certainly not the focus on this post. The basic premise is that being humans, we grow during our early years by virtue of micro-management by our parents or care-takers. You don’t believe this ? Let me cite some instances-
• What will happen if the mother does not timely sense that the baby is hungry and don’t feed on time ?
• What will happen if the parent does not frequently wash the hands of their kids once they start crawling ?
• What will happen if the parent does not train the kid of the basic hygiene ?
• What will happen if the parent does not take the kid for appropriate treatment if he/she is ill ?
• ...and many many more such examples.

If we go back to the previous definitions of the term micro-management, you will realize that as a kid, most of us has been raised with the following virtues applied by our parents-
• Excessive Attention to details in meeting our legitimate needs.
• Showing complete control on our well-being.
• Sometimes being dominant so as to teach or impart the right stuff.
• Sometimes even being defiant not to allow the unnecessary demands.

Isn’t micro-management instilled in a way we were all brought up ? What happens when the same micro-management is applied to work ? Depending upon the situation one is in, it more often leads to disgruntled employees.

Why do the employees not like being micro-managed ?
An interesting article here suggests the following relevant symptoms of you being micro-managed.
• Your boss is never wrong and doesn’t like arguments.
• You have to give more details than required
• You feel you are working under a microscope
• You do not feel your job is autonomous with absolutely no scope of applying your brains.
• Your boss takes all decisions without considering suggestions
• Your boss sets your priorities, and expects complete adherence. In case of non-compliance, you are shot down.

Talking again about the Kid's analogy, one relevant argument could be that as novices in the world, that’s probably the best approach to learn. But once we become qualified and learn well on the job and reach a state of Independence, being micro-managed is often felt as unnecessary and counter-productive.

Can someone's handwriting help me spot a micro-manager ?
Yes, no doubt handwriting can spot the group of traits that can reveal micro-management tendencies. The reason i say "a group of traits" is that there is no single trait that would brand someone as a micro-manager. So what are these traits ? Some of them listed below-

Attention to details is one of the traits that a micro-manager has the most. In some cases i would even say Obsessive Attention to details. Such a person usually goes to the core of work issue and breaks down the work to the minutest possible extent. Once that’s done, he/she usually starts asking some uncomfortable questions to his/her employee.
Attention to details can be easily revealed by one's handwriting by observing "i" and "j" dots. The more the dots are perfect dots (with no edges) and close to the stem, the more Attentive to details is the person usually.

Perfectionism is another likely traits of a micro-manager. A person who is perfect prefers to do things or expects others to do things in a flawless manner. Such a person has a lot of structure and may want to control things that don’t matter. He/She may want things in certain order- which may be unnecessary. He/She spend a lot of time putting everything in place and review work trying to make it more precise and have excessive need for control in certain areas. Perfectionism is usually a good trait if it is implied on self. As long as one starts exhibiting Perfectionism on others, usually the problem starts. Perfection can also be defined as a fear of losing control.
Perfectionism in handwriting is revealed by a straight and even baseline that you could draw a straight line underneath.

Dominance is one trait that most micro-managers possess. Such a person tends to be in control and likes being so. He/She sometimes can take charge without angering those around but usually dominance is viewed as more autocratic by people. Such a person naturally gravitate towards the position of authority. They enjoy being in command.
Dominance in handwriting can be revealed by downslanted heavy "t" bar and to the right. More downward the slant, the more dominant the personality.

The above are the very basic combination of traits that could be found in a micro-manager. Of course, there can be more traits or trait combination that could add on to these. For example-

If a person is also (in addition to above traits) emotionally very expressive, Sarcastic, has Temper and is Domineering , then it is more deadly combination of trait for a person who people may label as a "Bad-boss".

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  1. hi my name is kinal
    i have felown"s claw in ma signature but not in my handwriting
    i really wanna know what does it mean
    can that be a reason to depression for no reason
    if possible you can mail me on ma id vch as follows

  2. hi there. nice bolg. you have shared useful information. keep up the good work! this blog is really interesting and gives good details.

    Handwriting analysis