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By Julie Adamen
Micromanagement is time-consuming, energy draining, ever maddening, and demoralizing busy-work that accomplishes little. In our industry micromanagement by a Board or Board member translates as the over-the-top involvement in the day-to-day business affairs of the community.
Micromanagement is the number one reason cited by on site managers when they want to leave their current position. However, if we can understand why it occurs, then perhaps we can also use some simple as well as more advanced techniques – as managers, management firms and Boards – to better deal with it.
The micromanagers often have no idea of their true role. They are very often unclear on their role as Board members: They think they should be functionaries instead of policymakers and leaders.
The micromanager has been asked to be on the Board because of his/her profession and thus act as an unpaid staff member.
Micromanagers may be fearful: fear of making a wrong decision and then answering to the membership. Everyone wants to be liked, unfortunately sitting on a Board of Directors isn’t always conducive to that need.
Sometimes micromanagers are just plain bored. Many folks may have retired too early thinking golf and poker would take up the slack, yet come to find out they just don’t have enough to do to fill up the time on their hands.
Many micromanagers have big egos. Some of the more extreme cases micromanage because, after all, they are so smart, the association manager (and the rest of the Board for that matter) couldn’t possibly do as good a job as s/he could and s/he is indispensable to the community.
Micromanagers believe they care about the community more than the manager because they own the asset. The fundamental premise is flawed in that perceiving the role of the manager as one that should be as financially or politically connected as a Board member is just plain wrong. These ties would not be in the best interest of the Board or the community.
Despite the annoying ways of micro-managers, most believe they are doing the right thing by being overly-involved. Again, this comes back to the Board or Board member not understanding their role as policymaker v. (unpaid) staff member.
Julie Adamen is president of Adamen Inc., a consulting and placement firm specializing in the community management industry. Julie can be reached via email at Julie@adamen-inc.com or through her website www.adamen-inc.com.
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