Strategies to work with a micromanager

p 1 the strategy you need to manage that micromanager

By Martin G. Moore 4 minute Learn

I as soon as labored for a man who was extremely clever, had an insatiable urge for food for complexity, and an unimpeachable set of values. The one drawback was that he cherished particulars. He would typically ask me questions that I couldn’t reply—not as a result of I wasn’t good at my job, however as a result of his questions have been about particulars that solely the folks working two or three steps beneath me may know the solutions.

At some point, after asking me a query that lay deeply buried within the weeds of my undertaking, I turned to him and requested, “Doug, why would I do know that?” We held one another’s gaze for what appeared like an eternity earlier than he smiled, quietly stood up, and left my workplace shaking his head. That was the final time he requested.


Most of the time, your micromanaging boss isn’t a unhealthy particular person. Once they intervene with your work, it’s not as a result of they don’t belief you, and it’s not since you’re not doing all of your job. It’s just because they don’t really feel safe sufficient to let go of management, they usually don’t perceive the implications of what they’re doing.

The ramifications might be extremely damaging. Folks want to be given the liberty to problem themselves and push past their limits, in the event that they’re to develop and develop. Micromanaging takes away their autonomy, all however guaranteeing that they’ll by no means attain peak efficiency. Folks shortly turn into disengaged and demotivated once you take away their energy of self-determination.

The impression on the micromanager

As unhealthy because it feels to be micromanaged, it’s even worse for the micromanaging boss. Doing your personal job at a senior degree is tough sufficient with out attempting to do different folks’s jobs. It feels a lot extra comfy, although, to do lower-level work than it does to lead certainly one of your folks to enhance their efficiency.

Micromanagers typically have a unconscious drive to be perennially busy in order that they don’t have time to do the laborious work of management. However, in the long term, this breeds a tradition of mediocrity and underperformance.

Letting go might be scary and uncomfortable, so it’s vital to have a little understanding and empathy for the folks above who burden you with inappropriate oversight and undesirable intervention.

Begin with belief

It’s a lengthy day within the workplace once you work for a micromanager, and it’s laborious to do your job except you push again. However you possibly can’t push again except they belief you. What’s the quickest method to construct belief? Persistently ship outcomes. If you happen to do this, you’ll construct the foundations to clearly agree with your boss the place your job ends and theirs begins.


In case your boss is assured that you simply’ll ship, they’re more likely to step again once you give them the occasional mild nudge. So, no surprises. Make your boss really feel as if they’re well-informed, and preempt any main dangers or points which may come up.

How to push again respectfully

There are a few easy statements you should utilize to push again on a boss who insists on getting concerned in your work at an excruciating degree of element.

Begin with non-confrontational statements like, “I’ve this beneath management and I’m assured I’ll meet the deadlines. I’ll be certain to let you already know if something is probably going to change that.” This could present a degree of confidence that you simply’re on high of your transient, and that you simply’ll maintain your boss knowledgeable.

There are a variety of completely different flavors of this method, akin to:

  • “You want to belief me with this.”
  • “I perceive the goals I’ve agreed to, and I’m assured I’ll ship on these.”
  • “The undertaking is on monitor: you don’t want to fear about something at this stage.”

The important thing level is, you want to push again.

When the micromanager doesn’t take the trace

If that doesn’t get the specified outcome, it’s possible you’ll want to drive a deeper dialog. That is finest completed by asking main questions, akin to:

  • “What would provide you with confidence that I’m on high of this work?”
  • “Is there something that you simply want to see from me that you simply’re not seeing in the intervening time?”
  • “What do you want me to do this I’m not at present doing?”

That is simply a method of inviting your boss to provide you with suggestions. Generally you won’t like the reply, however at the least you’ll then have a higher concept of what you’re dealing with. In my expertise the most typical reply is, “Oh no, you’re doing all the pieces proper, I’m simply checking in your progress.”

The final resort

Having mentioned all of that, it’s very troublesome to change a micromanaging boss from beneath. If you happen to attempt to push them out of your work and fail, then you have got what we name a constraint. That is something that makes your job tougher. On this case, a micromanaging boss. You then have a alternative to make: Can you reside with that constraint, or not? It’s that straightforward.

If you happen to can, work your finest to ship worth inside these parameters. If you happen to can’t, it’s possible you’ll want to vote with your ft.

Martin G. Moore is the founding father of Your CEO Mentor, writer of No Bullsh!t Management, and host of the No Bullsh!t Management podcast.