A reader writes:
I’d like to get your input about how to deal with a coworker who micromanages laterally. I am a manager, and one of my peers, another manager, often takes it upon herself to tell the other managers how they should run their departments (even though we haven’t asked and it’s not within her realm of responsibility). It doesn’t happen all the time, but every few months or so she’ll go on a tirade and drive all of the managers crazy. For example, she’ll get on a dress-code policy kick and scrutinize every article of clothing staff wear, and then send repeated emails to department managers saying that it needs to be dealt with. The most recent time this happened, when I went to check on the “offensive” clothing, they fell completely within the code — perhaps she just didn’t like what the person was wearing?
She tells us which staff members need disciplining (when they don’t), tells us how to deal with clients, recites well-known procedures to us over and over, and will even go so far as to reorganize our service desks because she doesn’t like how they look! And I don’t mean just a little — I’m talking moving computers to a completely different location, and leaving post-it notes everywhere about why something isn’t right or shouldn’t be the way it is.
Usually I try to see where she’s coming from and consider whether she has a valid point, but often it’s just trivial things that don’t matter or don’t make sense. I’ve tried ignoring her, giving in to her, and being firm and telling her why my department chooses to do things a certain way and that we won’t be changing it. Nothing seems to help. I think she acts this way because she cares about our organization and likes to see things run smoothly, but it’s too much at times, and ultimately not her responsibility. Our organization functions well and overall our staff have good morale. I am perfectly capable of handling my team and, if I do say so myself, do a darn good job of it. How can I get her to back off when she gets like this?
You can read my answer to this question over at the FastTrack blog by Intuit QuickBase today.
Plus, three other careers experts are answering this question there today too. Head over there for all four answers…