How to Work With a Micro Manager

Does your manager closely watch your every move?  Are you forced to explain even your most insignificant decisions?  Are you starting to feel like you can’t sneeze without asking permission?  If so, then you have a micro manager.

Micromanagement is defined as: “manage[ment] or control with excessive attention to minor details”.

Being micromanaged can crush your initiative, as well as any potential job satisfaction.  It can make you feel tense, and that stress can spill over into your home life.  Depending on the severity, it can make your job unbearable.  If you are being micromanaged, there are some steps that you can take to improve the situation:

Recognize that you are being micromanaged.  Just acknowledging to yourself that you are being micromanaged actually relieves some stress.  When you give a name to the behaviour that is making you uncomfortable, you feel more empowered to do something about it.

Try to understand the behaviour.  Why does your manager feel the need to watch you so closely?  Are they under a lot of pressure from above?  Have you submitted poor quality work in the past?  Is it just part of their personality?  If you can identify the source of this behaviour, it makes it easier for you to change it.

Communicate.  Your manager may not be aware that they are making you uncomfortable.  They could view their behaviour as supportive.  Politely let your manager know how you work best.  Also, ask them what they need from you.  If they are happy with your work, they may not feel the need to watch you so closely.

Don’t get emotional.  If you become emotional, the situation becomes infinitely more difficult.  Remember that it is just a job, and your manager’s behaviour is likely not personal.  Make a plan about how to handle the situation, and don’t bring the stress home with you.

You cannot force your manager to give you more space.  At the end of the day, it is their decision.  Do your best to communicate your needs, but if you can’t live with their behaviour, and you can’t change it, then you need to move on.

(Written by:  Karen Bivand)

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