Friday, July 18, 2014

Editing, Freedom, Micromanagement and Crazy Control Freaks

I consider myself seven parts writer and three parts editor. The only problem is that five parts of my job is two parts less then I want it to be (and I don't think that makes sense so I must be no-parts math :). I had this great "text" conversation with an associate the other day. I was discussing my company 3L Publishing (, and I remarked how grateful I am to have this opportunity in life. My quip, "It's better than the alternative. I could be digging ditches." But reality is I have to make money -- and this is a business. Making money is often driven by market demand. If the market demands I publish other people's books and edit all day then I edit all day. I would rather be writing all day. Back to my earlier comment though: I am grateful I get to do what I do regardless.

I also own the company and the freedom inherent in business ownership while not providing nearly enough time to myself does afford the little things. My favorite example, if I need to sleep in because I was up late the night before working, I can do so. I never get an irate call from a "boss" or a stray email from that person that could be questionable. Stray emails with insults were common back in the day. As a responsible adult, there is nothing worse than your boss sending you an insipid request that tells you exactly what to do when to do. I've never needed anybody in my life to tell me what to do and when. Go back and be a kindergarten teacher if you need to micromanage someone.

Speaking of micromanagement since I am rambling, and I need to keep it up for at least one more paragraph. Here is the simple management truth: If you hire the right people in the right jobs, and those people are self-starters and know their jobs, micromanagement isn't necessary. The keys are being self-starters and having knowledge. Training a capable person right is also another important part. Responsible self-starters know how to do their jobs. They don't need validation to do them. They don't need urgent requests or specific drill-down instructions. They know how to start and finish a job -- and they report back later. Most responsible adults are perfectly capable of managing their own jobs. And you'll find a lot of those same adults prefer not to be micromanaged.

But alas in this world there are just plain and simply those control-freaks who can't let go. Even when they have capable workers, they still laud their power and enjoy the illusion of forcing horses to drink. Gulp! I once worked for a gal who couldn't let go. I remember one day, she sat me down and proceeded to map out how she wanted each person in the office to divide their time in half-hour increments throughout the day and how she wanted each of those half-hour increments to be filled. It was the damn scariest "control-freak" moment of my life. I actually watched as she took a dry-erase calendar and mapped out my staff's work lives. I wanted to take the dry erase pen and write on her face, "Are you kidding me?" But my zen side took over ... I quit. LOL Have a great Friday everyone.

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