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Signs That Your Boss In Micromanaging You... And How To Excel Despite That!

We all aspire to work in an ideal organisation and for the ideal boss. For most of us, an ideal boss is one who hires the right person for the right job, trains him well and sets him free to excel at his job. But the truth is that not many of us can boast of working in such ideal conditions. Among the many traits of an undesirable boss, the one that stands out would be a micromanaging one.

So, how do you know you are being micromanaged?

It is indeed the prerogative of any manager or boss to take leadership and have some control. Making sure that the work is getting done and paying attention to detail is important. They're also a necessary part of managing.


But if you have a manager who gives in to minute scrutiny and excessive control or is more critical of your efforts than encouraging, you know you are working for a micro-manager.

Some Other Signs That Your Boss May Be Micromanaging You…

  • Your boss expects you to give minute details on simple tasks and processes rather than the end result.
  • You have a feeling that you're being constantly watched or monitored. This can make you feel stifled and affect your productivity. For example, Your boss is constantly suspicious of you and expects detailed records of phone calls, meetings, tasks, spending or whatever he may perceive to be a waste of company's time and resources.
  • You know you are qualified for the job but unable to do it your way because of constant interference and someone telling you what and how to do it.
  • Your boss feels she is always right. She does not take your suggestions or recommendations. Rather she sets the rules and expects complete adherence.
  • He organises unnecessary meetings and takes great pride and wastes time in constantly making corrections.
  • She applies an intense level of scrutiny and attention to detail even for mundane tasks when it is unwarranted and unnecessary.
  • Lack of delegation and communication makes you feel that your boss is running a one-man show.

“Micromanagers are obsessed with control. You know you are working with one if he or she gets involved in a level of detail that is way below his or her pay grade,” says Jenny Chatman, a professor of management at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley who researches and consults on organizational culture.

So, What Makes Bosses Micromanage?

You tend to blame yourself or question your own abilities when you have a super controlling and critical boss. However, it is important to know that most times, you aren’t the cause of it, rather it may be due to increase in work pressure and insecurity in your boss’s mind.

“It’s more about your bosses’ level of internal anxiety and need to control situations than anything about you,” says Jenny Chatman.

Being micromanaged can be frustrating, demoralizing and demotivating.

So how do you deal with it and succeed in spite being micromanaged?

According to experts, fighting back won't work. “If you rebel against it, you will just get more of it,” says Jean-François Manzoni, a professor of management at INSEAD and co-author of The Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome: How Good Managers Cause Great People to Fail. “If you push back in one way or another — passively or aggressively — your manager may conclude you can’t be trusted and get more involved”. So, if you can’t change the way your boss leads, you can change the way you follow using a few battle-tested tactics!

Tips To Tackle Your Micromanaging Boss

Here are some ways you can excel despite having a micromanaging boss!

1. Try To Understand Your Boss’ Rationale:

Try and understand your manager and try to see things from their point of view.

For eg, it could be that your manager is a stickler for time and you have a more relaxed approach. Talking out which strategy works best for achieving the desired result will help.

You could appraise them of your team’s efforts and provide regular updates on the expected date of completion of tasks. This could make your boss appreciate your commitment to deadlines.

2.Find Common Goals:

Knowing what your manager wants to achieve. Find common goals and show keen interest to work on them.

This may help you to build trust and give you more freedom.

3. Communicate:

Have a one on one conversation with your manager about your expectations. Tell your manager that he can delegate certain tasks to you confidently. Tell your boss in no uncertain terms that you can take over some tasks if only he lets go of them. Insist on having regular supervisory meetings and share updates about your progress.

4. Be Proactive And Prompt:

For instance, you could send that expected email before your boss asks you for it. You could list the tasks already completed and next steps so your boss could see your progress. This could ease his anxiety to some extent.

Anticipate the tasks that your manager expects and get them done before time. This makes it clear to the manager that you know your responsibilities and how to manage them.

5. Assure Your Boss Of Your Abilities:

Assure her that you can handle the project on your own and that you will seek her guidance whenever you need it.

Flattery can also work. Tell your boss that she need not look into the minute details because her time and efforts are more valuable for the big picture.

To survive a micromanager, you will need to mutually determine a balance between your manager’s need for involvement, and your need for freedom to be productive.

If all of the above fail to work, you could consult your company's HR department or career counsellor to help sort out issues. If even that does not give you satisfactory results, in the long run, do ask yourself, would you still like to work here?

Working in a trying environment can seriously affect your self-esteem and productivity in the long run. Even if you love your job, sometimes it just makes better sense to move on.

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