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How to Cope with a Micromanaging Boss

By Admin | 5 April 2019 |

Having to cope with a micromanaging boss can be a constant source of strain at work. A boss who feels as if they have to be in control of everything can erode trust and affect your productivity. You may end up losing your confidence in making decisions and feel a loss of team morale.

It can be very difficult, if not impossible to change a boss who loves to micromanage. So, how can you learn to deal with a boss who is constantly looking over your shoulder?

In this article, you will learn about the top 3 secrets to coping is a micromanager at work.

How to Cope with a Micromanaging Boss

How to spot a micromanaging boss

It is important to realise that the reasons for micromanaging are rarely to do with the employee’s skills or competence. Bosses who are guilty of micromanaging are usually motivated by fear and insecurities. They very often have a fear of losing personal control.

What are the tell-tale signs that your boss is a micromanager? According to the journal Public Personal Management, some of the symptoms of micromanaging are the following:

  • Your boss spends an inordinate amount of time overseeing or supervising a project.
  • Micromanagers constantly oversee good employees and bad employees.
  • They find it difficult to cope if they get bypassed in small things.
  • Your boss is always first to arrive and last to leave the office.
  • A micromanaging boss tends to only criticise and rarely gives credit. They love to take all the credit for any project.

3 Ways to cope with a micromanaging boss

How can you get through the work day if you are always having to worry about your boss’s reaction?

Here are some ways to deal with your micromanaging boss.

1. Evaluate your own habits

Although micromanagers tend to be plagued by their own insecurities, it is good to evaluate if there is anything you can change. For example, if your boss is constantly asking you for updates on a project, get into the habit of sending them before being asked. If you know that specific formats or ways of doing things are important to your boss, then it is probably best to do it the way your boss wants.

Of course, you should ensure that your boss isn’t forced to micromanage your work due to sloppy habits on your side.

2. Ask “how?” not just “what?”

Micromanagers often have a preferred way of doing things. So, when you are assigned a new project, ask about what steps they would like you to take. If you follow through on this, your boss may learn to trust you more and feel less need to continually check up on your progress.

It is also better to ask detailed questions before starting a certain task or project. This has a number of advantages because you can find how your boss wants something done. This can help your boss to worry less because he or she can be sure that you know exactly your responsibilities and boundaries. Also, you may save yourself a lot of time and frustration because your boss should interrupt you less.

3. Ask for more freedom

Bosses can usually spot competent employees; however, micromanagers are usually overly worried about the project not turning out exactly how they wanted. You could try and get more freedom to complete the project.

However, for this to work, your micromanaging boss needs to be completely convinced of the outcome. How can you achieve this?

You could try thanking your boss for their mentoring and offer to take on more responsibility. You should recommend regular times to meet to discuss updates on the project as well as reassuring the boss that you will immediately come to him or her if you have any questions.

If your boss grants you more flexibility, it is very important not to let your boss down. Even though you may have to do things your boss’s way, the increased freedom will help you cope with a micromanaging boss.