In business management, micromanagement is a management style whereby a manager closely observes, controls and, or reminds the work of their employees.
We have all been there… it’s that boss who looks at their watch when you start work one minute late, who wants to sign-off on every basic email before you hit send, or who wants constant updates on what you’re working in hourly intervals, or who constantly peers over your shoulder to see if you are ‘slacking off’.
While being more involved might make bosses feel more in charge, sooner or later, their direct reports will start to feel un-trusted, undermined, and resentful. No one likes a boss who unreasonably scrutinizes work and constantly checks in. Not only is this micromanaging behaviour annoying, but it can also slow down your professional growth.
After all Steve Jobs once said – “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
If you are struggling working under a micromanager, you may be wondering if it’s possible to professionally address your worries without causing tension between you and your boss.
Here are 4 tips on how to handle micromanagement at work – without going insane or insulting your boss!
1. Ask – What can I do better?
How you respond to micromanagement largely depends on you as an individual. Find ways to communicate more effectively and try to understand what it is they’re looking for from you, whether it’s better productivity, to learn how to support you in your role, or to help develop your skills. Being direct is best, by simply asking: ‘ What can I do better?’
2. Try to Understand Your Manager’s Point of View
Understand the needs behind the micromanaging from your boss by getting as much information about their perspective as you can. By getting to the root of the problem, you may learn how to work your way around it.
3. Connect to Build Synergy & Trust
Try not to take your bosses management style too personally and build trust with them as this needs to be handled sensitively. A great boss friendship comes down to trust. When your boss doesn’t trust your decisions or abilities, they feel like they have to keep watch over you all the time. Develop synergy and build trust by creating time to connect and share what you’re doing, how it’s going and what comes next. This will enable your boss to start to trust you and in the work you’re doing.
4. Anticipate Curve Balls & Over Deliver
As mentioned above micromanagement usually stems from a lack of trust or confidence, either in oneself or in others. Learn what your bosses’ values are and their wants, anticipate the curve balls, and over deliver on your promises. Focus on building trust by consistently delivering results.