What does „Monkey Business“ mean? Explanation, meaning, definition

Monkey business is the delegation of assigned tasks back to the superior(s). Those concerned load more and more onto their own shoulders so that, figuratively speaking, more and more monkeys gather here.

The creeping path into the monkey business trap

Those who engage in monkey business pass on unpopular or supposedly excessive tasks to people who are not actually responsible for them. The person who has to (and often wants to) handle the additional tasks is overworked and frustrated. Monkey business does not develop from one day to the next. It happens insidiously and is often overlooked. The fatal thing is that with each additional task, workload, pressure and frustration grow. It becomes increasingly difficult to counteract.

Monkey Business: A Phenomenon That Can Be Well Remedied with Strategy

A manager who is stuck in the monkey business is more concerned with clerical than managerial tasks and thus neglects important matters. The reasons for this are complex, but are often related to lack of assertiveness, lack of targets and fear of confrontation. Many companies complain about overwork among employees and managers. This could be avoided if exactly those who are responsible for the work did it. By clearly distributing tasks and having the courage to try new approaches, managers do not fall into the monkey business trap so quickly and can protect themselves from overload.

Typical signs that superiors are practising monkey business management:

  • they double-check delegated tasks to make sure they are correct, instead of leaving them completely up to the employee
  • they like to load themselves with additional tasks because they want to control everything
  • they also complicate the handover of work and always want to keep an eye on it.

The most common causes of Monkey Business Management

1. clinging to the status quo

Many supervisors have a problem with change and stick to what they see as having worked for years. In doing so, they overlook the fact that the world around them does not stand still, but is in a constant state of change. Change means energy expenditure that people would like to avoid. We give back tasks to protect ourselves from unnecessary effort. Reluctantly wanting to break away from habits is a deeply human behaviour. But especially at a time when digital transformation is moving faster than we all suspected, change is necessary to stay competitive. Flexibility and the ability to trust your team are now required.

2. insufficient error culture

Bosses also take on tasks themselves because they want to avoid conflict. They are dissatisfied with the result, but do not clarify it in a clarifying discussion. Instead, they do the task themselves. But those who endure difficulties instead of openly addressing problems increase their frustration level. Supervisors with this characteristic often have a low frustration threshold and do not accept it well when the implementation of a new idea does not work right away. It seems easier to take matters into one’s own hands that bring employees back, instead of leaving it up to them to find a suitable solution. This in turn leads to anger and frustration among the team. The boss does not trust you – a behaviour that is anything but motivating.

3. Perfectionism

The opposite can also be the case. If superiors have very precise ideas about how tasks should be done, the reason may be that they don’t actually want to delegate the task. They give such meticulous instructions that others do not understand them or do not implement them at all. Out of fear of possible mistakes, they return the delegated tasks. This distinct form of monkey business management is called micromanagement. The superior has such high demands that employees make no attempt to fulfil them. The supervisor is now faced with a constantly growing mountain of tasks (the monkeys on his shoulder multiply rapidly) and overload is pre-programmed.

How to ward off overload

First of all, it is important to distinguish between important and less important tasks. The tasks in the company must be clearly distributed. Employees should be able to use all the tools at their disposal. Only if they are unable to solve the problem even with these tools should they consult their superiors. Ideally, supervisors motivate their employees to be proactive and communicate clearly what they expect. Of course, the necessary tools must also be provided.

Autor: Pierre von BedeutungOnline

Hallo, ich bin Autor und Macher von BedeutungOnline. Bei BedeutungOnline dreht sich alles um Worte und Sprache. Denn wie wir sprechen und worüber wir sprechen, formt wie wir die Welt sehen und was uns wichtig ist. Das darzustellen, begeistert mich und deswegen schreibe ich für dich Beiträge über ausgewählte Worte, die in der deutschen Sprache gesprochen werden. Seit 2004 arbeite ich als Journalist. Ich habe Psychologie und Philosophie mit Schwerpunkt Sprache und Bedeutung studiert. Ich arbeite fast täglich an BedeutungOnline und erstelle laufend für dich neue Beiträge.

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