8 Ways to Cope When You Work with a Micromanager
No one wants to work for a micromanager, no one really wants to be a micromanager… and most don’t even realize he/she is a micromanager. Often, new managers are unsure how to manage and they fear failure. So they follow-up endlessly, remind you of tasks you already know need to be done and make you feel like only they know how to do the job right.
Unfortunately, micromanagers can stand in the way of your professional growth and an opportunity to build confidence in your own skills. So, how do you know if you have a true micromanager who can’t trust the team or a boss who simply has a more “hand-on” approach? Here are a few red flags to watch out for:
- They have to constantly correct everyone’s work.
- They require endless updates on all tasks, big and small
- They convey the idea that only they know how to do the job correctly
- They want to know how you’re spending your time all day long, every day
- They want you to include them (or copy them) on every meeting, email or conversation
- They are overly concerned with monitoring progress and are afraid of failure
Having a manager like this can make your day feel very stressful. You feel like you’re not doing a good job and wonder what you can do to get your boss to trust you. Here are some tips to deal with the situation:
1. Take a look at your own performance and behavior. Are you doing something that causes your boss to be concerned with your commitment or skills? Do you show up late, miss deadlines and forget to do key tasks?
2. Try to understand what’s driving her behavior. Is she under pressure from her manager? Has there been a recent incident in the company that is making her more nervous than usual? If there’s a negative outcome on a big event, is she worried it will affect her future? Offer a kind word and show that you understand what needs to be done and you are committed to the job.
3. Anticipate what he/she needs. If you know that your boss “needs” to see an update every morning, be sure to have it prepared and on his desk first thing. If you can alleviate some of the worry, you may find that your boss isn’t checking up on you all the time.
4. Talk with your boss. Get together and set goals along with how your boss wants you to communicate your progress (email, meeting, text?). Ask him what he needs to see to feel comfortable with how you’re doing.
5. Clarify exactly what needs to be done, as well as how and when. Nail down the details beforehand and be prepared to update your boss regularly.
6. Encourage your boss to share the big picture. If you are part of a larger event, it helps to understand the overall goals so you can better see how to contribute. Once you know how your job fits in, reassure your boss that you understand how your job contributes the overall success of the event.
7. Be honest about what’s going on. If there’s been a mistake or something fell through the cracks, don’t hide it. Share the facts and find a solution. Transparency is critical if you want your boss to trust you.
8. Respectfully communicate how you feel. This can be a tricky conversation that you should have when you’re feeling calm…not when you’re frustrated and upset. Don’t take it personally. It’s more about him/her than about you. Carefully explain that you feel he/she doesn’t trust you to do your job. Ask for the opportunity to complete a small task independently, to be reviewed and discussed after completion. Do a great job and it just might help your boss understand that you can work autonomously.