Home > The joys of work, Workplace bullying > Toxic management: PIMM (Part 1 of 2)

Toxic management: PIMM (Part 1 of 2)

Do you find that you are always very busy at work but don’t actually do much ‘real’ work? Do you spend a lot of your time attending unnecessary meetings or drawing up unnecessary progress reports or project plans which have been requested by your manager? Does your manager tell lies even when it is not necessary? Does your manager take too long to make even the most  minor decisions? Do your manager’s decisions/demands change from one day to the next? Do you feel that your manager’s controlling behaviour is rendering you and your co-workers ineffective? Do you and your co-workers think that your manager does really not know what he/she is doing? If you answered yes to those questions, your manager could be a PIMM.

A PIMM is a Paranoid Incompetent MicroManager.  They are like micromanagers, only much much worse. Being incompetent, the PIMM feels that their position is threatened but has no constructive ways of reacting to this threat. To counter the threat,  they use highly pathological methods too numerous to list here. I got most of them from Softpanorama, an authority on this topic.

Gatekeeper of all communication: Because of their paranoia, they block all alternative information flows that do not come directly from them, make all important decisions themselves and at the same time require frequent detailed reports and data from subordinates. There is also an obsessive preoccupation with procedural details (project plans seem to be the favourite pastime, usually accompanied by meetings to review each step of the plan)

Addiction to control and power: PIMMs are addicted to control and power. This desire for control makes them ask for status, data and reports from their subordinates more often than is needed.  They pervert those management tools so don’t be surprised if an Excel spreadsheet, from being a tool, suddenly becomes an instrument of torture. Everything needs to be documented, real work be damned.

PIMMs try to control every little detail of every little project they assign to you, instead of giving you the job and leaving you to do it.  They often tend to be very process-oriented, and will usually bog you down in tons of useless documentation and meetings.

Inability to make a decision: PIMMs are notoriously indecisive. One of the most distinctive features of the PIMM is their obsession with extracting from you,  an endless stream of useless reports and meetings that are supposedly needed to make a minor decision which any competent manager can make on the spot.

Aversion to putting things in writing: They are pathologically economical in emails and are reluctant to respond to your emails or put anything in writing. PIMMs prefer to discuss things in private where there are no witnesses.  This is because they are consummate liars and will be untruthful about almost everything (even inconsequential things most people wouldn’t waste time and energy lying about).

Even when the PIMM puts things in writing, they try to make it sound as vague as possible so that later, if their demands change (as it usually does), they can claim that you misunderstood what they wrote.

They are insincere, although often appearing to be sincere (especially to superiors and to those with little experience dealing with them).

Other characteristics of PIMMs: They pride themselves on their rationality and objectivity when in reality there is none.  This is more typical of female PIMMs who feel that they are different from other women (and they really are).

An inability to trust, doubts about others’ loyalty, distortion and fabrication, misinterpretation and bearing grudges unnecessarily are hallmarks of the disorder. Pathological and instinctive aggressive counter-attack, the obsessive need to control others is also a prominent feature. They like to collect evidence on subordinates.

All PIMMs are bullies but not all bullies are PIMMs.

Click here for Part 2

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