How To Work For A Micromanaging Boss
I’ve had all types of managers – lazy, clueless, supportive, encouraging, inspiring and micromanaging just to name a few. For me, the most challenging type of boss to work for was the super controlling boss who loved to spend their time looking over my shoulder micromanaging my every move. If you work for one, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s demoralizing, to say the least. However, there’s hope and dare I say – you’ll even grow to LOVE your micromanaging boss. Hang in there! There are easy ways to manage your “micromanager” short of quitting.
Stay one step ahead
The best way to work with a micromanaging boss is to be one step ahead of him or her at all times. Not only do you want to beat deadlines, but you also want to be proactive in keeping your micromanager abreast of your progress. This is the KEY! Provide a spreadsheet of your advancement on every project you are working on and place it on a shared drive he or she can easily access. That way, they can look to the spreadsheet for answers when needed. It requires more work, but it should also reduce some of the time they spend hovering in your office cubicle.
Killing them with kindness can also pay you dividends when dealing with a micromanaging boss. Micromanagers think they can do every task better than anyone else. They may lack humility but often times they are right. The best thing you can do is go into work every day with an open mind. Be prepared to engage openly with your boss. Truly listen to their expertise on the subject and let he or she know they are doing a great job. Don’t be surprised if you actually learn a ton from your micromanaging manager! They are often highly knowledgeable!
Sometimes a lack of communication is the reason the manager starts micromanaging. During my time with my micromanaging boss, I learned that HIS boss was continually pressuring him about project deadlines, so in turn, he was all over his team about project details. Keep the communication lines open and keep him well informed. Up to date information is needed at all times so that when their boss asks about a certain subject, they have the answer. Frequent communication makes the boss and the teams look more cohesive and well managed.
Since giving up control is a big issue for micromanagers, you are going to have to prove yourself. One easy way to prove yourself is to demonstrate your ability to go above and beyond. You just need to put his or her mind at ease that you are here to get the job done and you intend to give it 100%. Once he or she believes in you, they will feel better about giving you the control. Once you do prove yourself, the bond you share with your boss will be significant and long lasting.
Don’t take it personally
Try not to take your micromanaging manger’s behavior personally. Having a boss that is constantly looking over your shoulder and giving never ending, unsolicited feedback can make you feel as if your boss doesn’t trust you. However, sometimes it has nothing to do with your job performance and all to do with their insecurities. I’ve found that it is of paramount importance for them to make the best impression possible to everyone the encounter. They are often times “seeking approval perfectionists”.
Lastly, the worst thing you can do to a micromanaging boss is to confront or show a lack of support for his or her leadership style. If you’ve tried all of these techniques that I’ve mentioned above and still find that you cannot work together, then it may be time to look for work in a different department or employment elsewhere.