“My boss is a dictating micromanager,” one of our readers recently posted on our Admin Pro Forum, “and I’m having difficulty handling the situation. How can I let him know that I can manage most situations with little or no supervision? I don’t want to be insubordinate, but he needs to stop breathing down my neck.”
The good news is that most managers don’t want to be micromanagers, because it takes more time and effort to hover over their team.
The trouble is that managers know they’ll be held accountable for the work their team is doing.
If they’re left to wonder whether something isn’t being done right, they may start jumping in often to ask how things are going or telling people how to do their jobs.
So don’t allow them to wonder.
“Give a micromanaging boss more detail than he asked for,” advises reader Diane Johnson-Hung. “And keep doing it. At some point, he will stop asking for all of the details. I’ve tried it, and it worked.”
Johnson-Hung is on to something. The best remedy for a micromanaging boss? Providing clear information at regular intervals.
Workplace expert and author Roxanne Emmerich (thankgoditsmonday.com/blog) outlines three steps to cure micromanagement:
1. Begin with clarity. “When receiving a new assignment, don’t leave the boss’s office until you’ve achieved absolute, crystal-clear understanding of the project and your task,” she says. “Asking questions doesn’t erode confidence in you—it shows that you are meticulous and devoted to accuracy.”
2. Report periodically. Depending on your boss, “periodically” may mean daily or weekly or at logical points during a project.
Don’t leave out the bad news, says Emmerich: “A boss I had in my 20s used to say, ‘Tell me the good news, tell me the bad news ... but don’t ever surprise me.’ I didn’t—and as a result, he never micromanaged my work.”
3. Ask for an end-of-project assessment. “Once the project is complete, ask the boss whether he or she was satisfied with the reporting procedure along the way,” Emmerich says.