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The Micromanager Case

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1031
  • Category: Manager

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In this case study one obtains the information pertaining to the leadership style of George Latour who attempted to train the new employee Shelly Stern. However, the case study shows the conflicting interests between the coach and the learner as the latter does not agree with the leadership style of the leader.

This case study provides the information pertaining to the official relationship between George Latour, CEO of the Retronics who specializes in software-engineering and marketing manager Shelly who had established reputation as talented marketing personnel before becoming the part of Retronics. Latour has been facing the pressures from the board members and the president of the company that he is required to show the better performance of the company. For this there was the appointment of Shelly as marketing manager.

Latour was known for his skills in software engineering. After the company faced a crisis Latour had replaced the founder of the company and now the investors expected that positive results from Latour. One problem with Latour, both at home as well as at office, was that he interfered with even the insignificant activities of his subordinates. For example, he insists that his marketing manager should implement his ideas while giving advertisement to the products of the company. He even suggested the corrected the sentences written by his subordinate managers.

The CEO felt that his subordinates may not be able to provide the perfect service to the company as he found a few ‘mistakes’ in the functioning of his marketing manager. This interventionist policy of Latour has been termed by Shelly as ‘micromanagement’. She is distressed by the behavior of the CEO and discusses this problem with her earlier friends who had recognized her talents and encouraged her to constantly improve her performance. This kind of performance had impressed the president of Retronics and he had recommended Shelly to the position of the marketing manager in the company. This fact shows that Shelly also had a few talents and ideas pertaining to marketing and she felt that her boss did not show confidence in her abilities particularly because her boss is not a specialist in the field of marketing management. After her discussion with her friends she comes to the conclusion that she needs to express her dissatisfaction to her superior authority.

Shelly believed that her ideas were usually perfect although on certain occasions she might have committed mistakes. Latour’s problem was that he insisted on reading and correcting each and every press release written by Shelly and insisted that she needs to implement his ideas instead of  following her own method of providing publicity to the company. This micromanagement creates lot of distress to Shelly and she comes to know that her other colleagues also faced the same problem from Latour. On one day she directly tells Latour that she did not liked his way of management as she also deserved some independence in the company. This created communication barrier between the boss and the marketing manger.

Latour was anxious to deliver good results to be placed before the board meetings as he was criticized because after his take over the company had not showed great positive results. He believed that he needed to give the feedback to the employees so that they could correct their mistakes and this would lead to better relationship between the assistants and CEO. However, this attitude was not liked by Shelly who was going through lot of distress and she decided to follow the confrontationist policy. She wanted to show that she is capable of being creative and for this she needed the support of her superior official.

The CEOs would argue that Latour is accountable to the investors and therefore he has every right to interfere in the performance of the managers. However, this attitude of Latour is wrong because it does not lead to the improvement of the performance of the managers because they feel that their creativity is restricted by the company bosses. Being software engineer, Latour has the habit of applying engineering principles to management. A moderate approach would have suggested that Shelly should have modified her tone of communicating her displeasure to her boss. However, the harsh tone of her voice indicates the frustration which she suffered in the company.

The psycho-analytical study shows that Latour created problem for himself by interfering in each and every minute detail of the marketing manager. Instead he should follow the method of assigning independent projects to the manager and these projects should be reviewed after a period of six months or one year. By this time, he can also take a decision regarding continuing the service of Shelly in the company. He could provide information to the president of the company regarding the performance of the marketing manager because it was the president who had recommended the service of Shelly in the company.

In this context one can suggest that path-goal model of leadership is more suited to provide leadership to the managers in the company. By using this model, Latour could have provided general guidelines regarding the requirements of the company and should have offered all his assistance required by the manager. This model believes in showing the right model of leadership in the company. In this model, the leader is respected because he respects the creative ability of the subordinate staff. However, at the same time, the leader periodically monitors the performance of the managers.

Periodic assessment of the performance of the manager would have provided better results as the manager is encouraged to be more creative and this reduces her stress in the company. It is the duty of the CEO to provide ideal working atmosphere for the employees so that they could improve their performance in the long run. This analysis shows that the micromanagement model is not the ideal management system. Instead the path-goal model leadership is more suited to the companies which expect the positive results from the executives.


Fryer, Bronwyn., Goodnight, Jim., Goulson, Mark., Lawrie J., Michel, Chappelow, Craig. (Sept.

            2004). The Micromanager. Harvard Business Review, 82:9, 31-38.

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