How to Deal with a Micromanager

Does your boss hover over you all day? Can you sense your manager lurking around the corner, ready to make changes as soon as you’re done with your work? You may be dealing with a micromanager. Although this management strategy is often found to be ineffective, some companies still prefer to have a micromanager at the helm.

How can you work effectively with a micromanager on your back? Although it’s tricky, there are ways to maintain your sanity and make your micromanaging boss happy at the same time. Here are a few strategies you should try:

1. Ask for thorough instructions:

One reason your boss may have become a micromanager is that they feel they can’t trust you to get the job done right. Prove them wrong by asking for thorough instructions at the beginning of the project and taking notes to avoid any confusion. This simple gesture may help reassure your boss that they won’t need to hover over you to make sure the project is done right the first time.

2. Beat your deadlines:

When managers are worried about the timeline of a project, that stress may be projected into a micromanagement strategy. To calm them down and get a little breathing room, try to finish your tasks before their deadline. This will alleviate any time-related stress and let your manager know that you are a reliable, hard worker.

3. Express your need for independence:

If you’re beating all of your deadlines and following their thorough instructions but you still feel your manager breathing down your neck, it’s time to have an open conversation about the work style you’d prefer. Ask for a one-on-one meeting and express your need for a little more independence while you work. An understanding manager will take this in stride as long as you approach it in a non-confrontational, matter-of-fact way. If you explain to your manager that you thrive in an environment where you’re trusted to get the job done without supervision, they may be more understanding than you’d think.

4. Be more proactive:

If your micromanager of a boss is constantly fixing the same mistakes in your work or making similar changes on your projects, take notice. This may be a sign that you aren’t proactively taking notice of your manager’s preferences. Instead of doing it your own way over and over again, try being proactive and make the adjustments your boss repeatedly makes so they won’t have to. This will help both you and your manager have a more productive day because you’ll save them the time they usually take to change your work.

5. If it’s unhealthy, cut ties:

At the end of the day, despite all of the changes you’ve made to your working style, some bosses simply prefer to constantly observe their employees and have a hand in every project that goes on in their office. I this management style irks you or gets in the way of your independent working style, it may be time to cut ties. Start looking for a new job in an environment that fosters the kind of independence you’re looking for so you can move on to a healthier, happier workspace.

Though they are a dying breed, micromanagers still exist out in the wild. If you have to deal with a micromanager of your own, it’s important that you open the lines of communication and try to anticipate their needs. What appears to be a micromanager to you may just be a manager responding to a series of mistakes you’re making. Try these strategies and, if you don’t find your work situation improving, start looking for a new job with a company culture that meshes with your work style.

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