If there’s one breed of managers that employees dislike and fear, it is unarguably the ‘micromanager’ – those who obsessively control every minute detail of their teammates’ work. Yet, there’s no dearth of such managers – 79% of people globally report working for a micromanaging boss at some point in their careers. They feel stressed, demotivated, disengaged, and 69% of such people even consider changing jobs. But it doesn’t have to be this bad.
Following these three smart tips can help you handle a micromanaging boss successfully:
1. understand what’s causing your boss to micromanage
48% of bosses like to be seen as experts and authority figures, and 41% of leaders have a very strong desire for power. Clearly, for most bosses, the intent behind micromanaging is not to cause workers pain, but to be in complete charge of the situation at any given time. If your boss falls into this category, get smart and beat them to the task. Proactively send them regular status updates throughout the day or week, schedule a quick chat whenever you encounter a roadblock. Basically, go the extra mile to communicate. Most likely, this will relax your boss’ nerves and might even cause them to consider if their own behavior was unnecessary.
2. speak up on how their behavior affects you
85% of employees feel demotivated when they are micromanaged. That’s a huge number. Rather than stay quiet and think of an exit, it is always better to communicate your feelings clearly. Most micromanaging bosses are not aware of their own behavior and how it is impacting others. Remember not to be confrontational when you speak up. Pose it this way: “I’d like you to trust me on this project and after I’m done, we can discuss what I did right and where I can improve.”
3. help your boss bridge the gap from ‘doing to leading’
Companies led by bosses that have high delegator talent post greater revenue and growth, and create more jobs than those led by bosses with do-it-all-myself attitude. But the art of delegating work effectively isn’t easy to master and most micromanaging bosses struggle to make the transition from doing everything themselves to delegating to others. If your boss is an entrepreneur, delegation can be really challenging for them. 75% of employers who are entrepreneurs have limited-to-low levels of delegator talent, negatively impacting their ability to build teams that can positively influence company performance. As an employee, you can do a lot to make it easier for your boss to delegate. Start by building trust and then take on work or projects that you know you’ll be good at. Prove your credibility through small wins, communicate progress regularly, and demonstrate your abilities - without threatening your boss’ authority in any way.
Micromanagement is a self-defeating strategy which causes bosses to forever remain in an existential crisis, hindering their ability to grow personally and let others grow too. Work towards helping your boss adopt a growth-oriented mindset, instead of fretting over nitty-gritty details. If you’re lucky, they might see logic and turn over a new leaf.