Article Image
Micromanagement — A Common Conflict for Workplace Mediation

Wednesday, January, 18, 2012

In terms of “personality conflicts” that often lead to workplace mediation, few compare to micromanagement. Personality conflicts, as a general rule, are difficult to determine for many reasons. As a result, dealing with conflicts over “micromanagement” is not a black and white matter.


A Brief Look at Personality Conflict Mediation


First of all, citing “personality conflicts” or “ego clashes” for work conflict mediation implies an unwillingness on both sides to compromise or own their possible culpability in the matter. It is also a very ambiguous definition, which could include bullying and contract abuse, but not necessarily. It could be a disagreement over disparate interpretations of contracts, one person projecting their problems on another, and many other things.


Ultimately, the first step in the mediation process is to define exactly what the problem is. Quite often, problems between managers and employees will break down into one of two things—a perceived abuse of authority or perceived micromanagement, and these two could exist in the same claim.


Conflict Management of Micromanagement Claims


The bottom line of a micromanagement accusation is that some employees would prefer to work with minimal supervision, and supervisors and managers want maximum assurance that work is actually being performed. The first thing to clear up is whether or not the claim is justified. Neither side is going to simply admit if they are in the wrong, otherwise, they would not be in mediation.


Certain lines of question can bypass the defenses of self-justification. An employee may feel that they were unjustly passed up for the promotion to the other party's position. The manager may be a newcomer and the employee feels territorial. On the other hand, the manager may be overbearing if they are nervous, if they have private or domestic stress, or for other plausible reasons. The employee may simply be a troublemaker or the manager may really be a tyrant.


Asking the right questions can paint a picture of what lies behind the conflict. Once this is done and culpability is accepted, the workplace mediation is practically resolved.