Q: My boss is a micromanager and is always moving us from one job to the next before we get a chance to finish the first job. He says he’s just re-prioritizing and keeping us on the most important task, but we haven’t finished a single job in the last two years. It’s really frustrating.

How can we convince him that it would be more efficient to let us finish one job before we start another one?

A: A supervisor who is focused on efficiency, is willing to change plans in an instant and has a high level of authority will tend to frustrate his people. Such a supervisor is often seen as disorganized and ineffective. 

His employees never feel a sense of accomplishment, they don’t feel like they made a significant contribution, and they lose their enthusiasm for the job. Employees who have to work with this management philosophy do not get a chance to build confidence or competence, since they have no successes to confirm their progress.

Talk to your coworkers to get their perspectives and ideas. These discussions with coworkers should not be gripe sessions, but instead focus on developing solutions. 

Have the key thoughts summarized before you talk to your boss about this issue. Have a list of advantages to finishing tasks and develop a strategy for better labor utilization. Discuss the possibility of some of the employees being designated as “floaters,” whose job it is to take care of the impending issues, allowing the other workers to stay with a specific job until it’s done. Also discuss the greater efficiency of completing tasks while the tools, people and attention are in place, rather than leaving and having to come back later after the tools are moved to another project, the supplies are used somewhere else, and the people forget what they were doing.

If you are focused, specific and solution-oriented, an effective boss will listen, ask questions, make appropriate adjustments and truly be impressed that you developed a solution.

If you have questions for Dear Boss, send them to:

Don Tyler, P.O. Box 67, Stockwell, IN47983or e-mail to don@dontyler.com.

Your letter will remain confidential, and may or may not get an individual reply.