Many of us appreciate a little support and guidance at work once in a while, especially when we feel we need it. But, there are few among us who would say they enjoy being micromanaged. Still, hovering helicopter bosses are out there. And, they can be more than a little aggravating. But, there are some things you can do that should make working with your micromanaging boss a little bit easier.
1. Take the time to see it from their point of view.
It’s important to keep in mind that managing people isn’t easy. Consider the work your manager is tasked with and appreciate the difficulty of their job. It might not change your manager’s behavior, but it could give you a little more empathy, which could make the situation easier to navigate. Think about their job and their responsibilities. Even if you feel like you know you could do it better, appreciating the depth of the challenge should make your manager’s attitude, and tension, a little bit easier to understand. After all, you want them to try to understand your job from your perspective, right?
2. Try to avoid surprising a micromanager.
Micromanagers are motivated by the need to be in control. They struggle to relinquish any decision-making power. They might even try to direct how tasks and teams are organized and structured. The last thing you want to do is surprise this kind of micromanager with something they didn’t expect. It could confirm their fears and lead to even tighter control and more oversight in the future. So, if something out of the ordinary is going on, be sure your manager is the first to know.
3. Be patient.
It takes time to build a strong and trusting professional relationship. If you’re new to the company, or to your position, a little more oversight than you might prefer is somewhat understandable. Millennial workers are particularly averse to micromanagement. Preferring instead to work for themselves, they strongly value autonomy. So, this type of management style might be particularly challenging for them. But, try to be patient if your manager seems too heavy-handed at first. Once you’ve put in the time and demonstrated that you are consistent and reliable, the pressure should ease a little. Be patient, be excellent, and give it some time.
4. Attempt to create a some structure.
One of the toughest things about working for a micromanager is the unpredictability of it all. You never know when they’re going to corner you in the hall with a million questions or cut in on one of your meetings with a client unexpectedly. Minimizing the randomness of it all could be hugely helpful. So, turn the tables a little. Ask to schedule update meetings and set deadlines for tasks together. You’ll feel better having grabbed the reins, and your micromanager will feel comforted to know that the two of you have a plan. This kind of proactive planning might even help them back off a little.
5. Get some support.
Nothing can ruin a great job faster than a crummy boss. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Confiding and commiserating, in a respectful and mature way, with a trusted work-friend could be helpful. It will feel good to confirm that you’re not alone. And, you might be able to come up with some new strategies through hearing what works, and what doesn’t work, from someone else. But, when you really want to vent and blow off some steam about the situation, do it with someone who isn’t a professional contact. Friends and family members will likely be able to relate too. Working for a micromanager can be incredibly stressful — be sure you call upon your resources for support to help you through it.
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