In a book titled Coping with Toxic Managers, Subordinates… and Other Difficult People by Dr. Roy H. Lubit, he describes the core characteristics of an obsessive-compulsive personality as:
1 – Excessive focus on details and rules that interferes with the real objective.
2 – Rigid insistence that his or her own way should be followed.
3 – Difficulty with spontaneity and warm emotions.
4 – Exaggerated focus on work and achievement.
5 – Indecisiveness.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we have a winner!!! This describes my bat-$#@%-crazy manager, how about yours?
Dr. Lubit also says that:
“…managers with compulsive personalities both micromanage and fail to provide the support subordinates need to perform at their best… The atmosphere these managers create is stifling.”
“Compulsive individuals excessively focus on details and are unable to see the big picture. They are also weak at knowing which details are important and which are not.”
He goes on to say that once you get on the bad side of a compulsive individual, it’s very difficult to redeem yourself (don’t I know it!).
The problem that I have with the doctor’s analysis is not how he describes this type of manager, but the way he explains how to deal with these people.
Be responsive to their values and fears by phrasing things in ways they understand and can relate to. Stress punctuality with work. Indicate how important the work is, not whether or not you like it.
Here’s something for them to respond to: YOU ARE IN THE WAY OF ME DOING MY JOB!!! I can’t stress punctuality as you like so much since you seek to sabotage my team meeting any deadlines. I can completely fake it about it being important since you already know that I hate it – thanks to you.
Since they have limited trust in others, you need to fill them in on the details of what you are doing. The micromanagement might seem silly, but it’s better to go along with it.
No – they need to learn how to function in mainstream society. I shouldn’t have to change what’s “normal” to fit in with that idiocy. It may be better to “go along with it”, but you will be miserable! True, you cannot change your manager, but you don’t have to stay there either.
Compulsive managers prefer information in written format.
Please don’t remind me of this one! Written documentation may be a good way to go, but these people love email SO much that they will bury you in it. They will want an answer for everything, but then they’ll wonder why your work isn’t complete since you apparently had the time to respond to 31 of their emails.
Follow rules to the letter: Never come in late or leave early. Never complain about staying late. Never say that you want to spend time relaxing or having fun.
Yeah – because that sounds like something to look forward to everyday. PLEASE sign me up for that job!!! Just one thing Dr. Lubit… you forgot to tell me to check my humanity at the door because apparently you’re not allowed to have any working for these kinds of people.
I’m so wound up about this that I’m drafting a letter to this guy. I wonder… do you think he’s had the joy of reporting to a compulsive manager? No doubt, this man has impressive credentials (his portfolio is available online at http://www.jurispro.com/uploadresume/Roy%20Lubit8.pdf ) and I’m sure he’s smart as a whip. However, I find it very hard to believe that this is advice that can be followed – successfully. From my experience, there is no winning with these types of people. They just want you to lose and to continue doing so. If you follow this advice, then that would also make you compulsively stupid.
This reminds me of the great line in Office Space, spoken by Michael Bolton. "Have you ever thought of changing your name to Mike?" "Why should I change? He's the one who sucks."
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