Confusion is the absence of order; it is the absence of peace; of people not knowing what to do, or knowing what to do but unsure of where or how to start; of having multiple decisions to make but afraid to make the wrong one; of being given multiple instructions, corrections, advices, or orders that makes one’s head spin in different directions and unsure of which to follow, or being told to do one thing one second, and the next second someone comes along to nullify the first.
This ought not to be.
Wherever there is confusion, there is certainly every evil thing. Whether or not you agree, this is absolutely true.
Confusion brings along its first-cousins, namely envy, strife, jealousy, selfish ambition, self-seeking, and disorder, to anywhere they are welcomed. They settle down and have a party of utter chaos. It could be in a home, family, small or big organizations.
Confusion at work
Confusion is present when managers micro manage rather than lead and empower their staff. Confusion stems from evil hearts of insecurity and control. Again, this ought not to be.
Wherever confusion is, the atmosphere is filled with employees who are unhappy, gloomy-faced, frustrated, stressed, lacking motivation, and the desire to put the organization first. Productivity suffers, Morale is low, Complacency also sets in, high staff turnover, and the people show up just for the paycheck. Stress becomes the order of the day with its resultant effects on employees’ health.
If confusion produces all the above-mentioned outcomes, why then do organizations embrace or allow it? Your answer is as good as mine.
Confusion is allowed due to ignorance. Folks are either unaware, ignorant of better (i.e., their right), and/or afraid to challenge, change, or speak up about it. Organizations embrace or allow confusion out of ignorance and fear. Fear of being stagnated (overlooked for promotion) or demoted.
Confusion is a spirit. We see its effect but don’t know why it happens. Knowing the root of the problem, helps. For example, is the organization experiencing financial or management issues, is the leader/manager’s personal lifestyle conflicting with his/her corporate role? Whether the root cause is known or unknown, the best way to stop it is to speak up. Call it what it is. C-O-N-F-U-S-I-O-N. No pat-a-caking it. Keeping quiet about it, will only allow it to fetter and grow worse.
Micromanaging is the biggest influencer of confusion.
Micromanaging and Confusion
Micromanaging and confusion are siblings. They go together. There is always confusion where micromanagement occurs and vice versa.
We all know what micromanaging is. It’s a management style that overly scrutinizes and controls a subordinate’s work. It is rampant in environments where unskilled labor is high. Given the chance, micromanagers will try to control or scrutinize their bosses, too. The style stems more from the person’s emotional insecurities, but often tends to be projected as the subordinates’ incompetencies.
People micromanage for different reasons that may include things going on in their own personal lives. Insecurities and the need (or desire) to control are top reasons why people micromanage. Micromanagers tend to control everyone from top mangers to the lower echelons. To curb it, employees have to speak up. I am a proponent of dialogue.
Ways to curb micromanagement and confusion
- Start by sharing your feelings using the “I” starters and avoid the “You”. For example, I feel [stressed, distrusted, fill-in-the-blank, etc.] when ________.
- Have clear expectations.
- Communicate your leadership style and empower your staff to communicate how they would like to be managed or led
- Build a culture of trust
- I’m also a BIG proponent of human capital. Assure your staff that they are valued, respected, and appreciated, This tend to boost their morale, lessens turnover, and increases their productivity. They will go the extra mile both for the organization and its customers.
- Let the focus be on the big overarching picture; the company/organization, rather than on you (the leader or employee).
The above ways are general and applicable both to the micromanager and the micromanaged. However, there are other specific steps that each involved can take to mitigate the negative effects of micromanaging and confusion at work. Speaking to a mentor and/or HR personnel is always advisable.