You’re working on a project and your boss hasemailed you for the fourth time that day asking for an update.

Cartoon character receiving lots of emails on their cellphone

She eventually tells you she wants to review the report you’re working on. You share it, and she finds small grammatical errors and says that you need to pay greater attention to detail.

This is a sign that you might have a micromanaging boss.

But how can you deal with micromanaging?

What Is Micromanaging?

Micromanaging bosses monitor your work to a degree that may seem inappropriate to you. They might:

  • constantly ask you questions about your progress

  • criticize small details about your work regularly

  • demand that you get approval for all aspects of your work

  • don’t delegate tasks to you or anyone else on the team

Bart Simpson being monitored by a CCTV camera

Consider these scenarios

A. You’ve just started a project and your boss asks you to send him an email update three times a day.

B. You deliver a presentation and get great feedback from your colleagues. The next day your boss criticizes your choice of fonts in your presentation and says you should have run it past him first.

C. Your boss is struggling to meet a deadline. You offer to help but your boss doesn’t involve you and pulls an all-nighter to complete the work himself.

Quiz

Which of these scenarios suggest that you have a micromanaging boss?

B

A

C

All of these

What Are The Causes And Effects Of Micromanagement?

Micromanaging bosses show a lack of trust in your performance. Trust is one of the most important aspects of any relationship.

Their actions might leave you feeling like you can’t do anything right. All you want to do is get on with your work and this constant scrutiny:

  • affects your morale

  • creates self-doubt 

  • causes you to feel undermined

If you had another job to go to, you would resign instantly!

Wrestler saying

Prepare To Talk To Your Boss

You're ready to discuss micromanagement with your boss, so it's now time to think about the outcomes that you want from your meeting.

Woman saying

Depending on the behaviors that you come across from your boss, you might want to discuss:

  • how often updates are needed

  • removing the need to ask for approval for small things

  • taking ownership of a small project from start to end to see how you do

This will help you gain more autonomy and build more trust between you and your boss, giving you more time to focus on your work.

Find a time and place

Schedule a meeting with your boss at an appropriate time and place. Make sure you won't be interrupted and that you'll have as much privacy as possible.

Woman saying

Quiz

Which of these actions will show that you are outcome-focused during your meeting?

Complaining about your boss' behavior

Suggesting weekly updates to your boss

Threatening to quit

Talk To Your Boss!

Remember to take notes during your meeting.

Although you're not happy with your boss' micromanaging ways, it's important to consider their point of view.

Empathize with them. Say that you understand that it’s difficult managing a team and that you want to do what you can to help. 

Woman saying

Ask your boss if there is any aspect of your work that you need to improve on.

Raise the points you've come up with during the preparation stage.

Send a follow-up email to your boss with the points discussed and the actions you've each agreed to.

Which Of These Statements Is Best?

Icon of woman

Samira is in a meeting with her boss. Which of these opening statements demonstrates that she is empathizing with her boss' position?

A. "I understand that it must be difficult managing four people, as well as handling all the work you have to do. I would like to help and I have some suggestions."

B. "I'm not sure you understand the effect your micromanaging is having on me, this is how we're going to put a stop to it..."

C. "I'll have to speak to HR if we can't come to some sort of agreement about your micromanaging, I need to you to do the following...."

Quiz

Which statement is best?

C

B

A

None of these

Speak To Human Resources

If you feel your boss didn't hear your concerns, consider speaking to HR about the issues you're unhappy with.

Man saying

They may be able to host a meeting between you and your boss to discuss your concerns.

Tell your HR Manager that you've already met with your boss and use your notes from the meeting to write an outline of what was discussed.

What To Do If Nothing Changes

Man saying

If speaking to your boss and HR doesn't change your boss' behavior, then you have three choices:

  1. Carry on working with your boss for now and hope they will soon leave

  2. Request a transfer to a different team if possible

  3. Find another job!

Take Action

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This Byte has been authored by

FC

Fariha Choi

Digital learning Specialist