In Rebecca Ryan's article, "Management matters, in three acts" (Accounting Today, February 2011, page 38), I think she could have given better advice to the 27-year-old "high-potential" senior manager who felt micro-managed when given the lead on an important project by a firm partner and then being asked to cc the partner on e-mails and check in with the partner every couple of weeks. I view this as more of a request to establish communication between the project lead and the partner who, I would guess, has the ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of the project. Copying someone on e-mails and checking in every couple of weeks hardly sounds like micro-managing to me. "Leading a project" shouldn't mean cutting off contact with the executives in the firm.
Further, if this was a project for a client, it's possible that the partner knew that the client would take comfort in knowing that the partner was up to speed on the project by seeing the partner's name on the e-mails. (If so, this should have been communicated to the senior manager at the outset of the project.) Being copied on the e-mails also would give the partner an opportunity to reinforce the good work that the senior manager is doing by sending a quick "Good job" reply e-mail to the senior manager and copying the client, reinforcing in the client's mind that their project is in the very capable hands of this senior manager.
My advice to the senior manager would have been to use this as an opportunity to get to know that partner better and demonstrate that you have what it takes to get the job done. Leaders at every level understand that communication and inclusion are important factors in every initiative.
Barbara J. Harmel
Sales and marketing manager Tronconi Segarra & Associates
Williamsville and Niagara Falls, N.Y.
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