A friend was talking about his childhood, when his parents always told him what to think, say and do. He was not allowed to take any initiative on his own. He suddenly stopped. A light bulb went on. He realized he was waiting for someone to tell him what to do instead of taking initiative on his own with a work issue; his old programming was driving him even now, even though he thought he had put it all behind him.
His parents, undoubtedly doing what they thought best, disempowered him and now as an adult he was paying the price.
It isn’t just parents who disempower you. It might be the boss who feels he has to micromanage you because he is afraid for his job if you make a mistake. It might be the “friend” who decides to micromanage some aspect of your life because she thinks she is helping you step out of your comfort zone (and into hers). It comes in many different guises.
Unfortunately, you are the one who pays. You are the one who becomes simply their tool. This is not a sign of trust, and does not show respect for you.
If someone tries to micromanage you, talk to them about how it impacts you and negotiate a more comfortable arrangement. If you can’t come to a resolution, it is your decision whether or not to stay in the relationship.
If you micromanage others, stop. You are disempowering them. Instead, mentor and coach them. Explain your parameters for success and be available for questions, brainstorming and feedback. Encourage them to take initiative, and know that mistakes happen. It is through trial and error that people learn. The amount of oversight required of you depends on what is at stake; when the stakes are high, more oversight is appropriate.
It is not in anyone’s best interest to micromanage.