In rare cases, micromanaging makes sense. When preparing to impress an outside auditor or coordinating a team to master a series of detailed tasks, meticulous oversight can pay off.
But most of the time, micromanagers crush morale. They create needless bureaucracy, meddle constantly and stoke resentment.
When subjected to a micromanager, you may ask yourself in exasperation, "Doesn't my boss have anything better to do?" Good question.
To find the answer, stay out of a micromanager's sight. A reader tells us that she successfully shut out a micromanager by observing his work habits and whereabouts throughout the day. She noticed when he went to lunch and even the routes he took to walk from one end of the factory to the other—and she made sure to minimize contact.
By avoiding run-ins, you decrease the likelihood of dreaded interference. A micromanager cannot tell you how to do your job if you're operating under the radar. We're heard of employees who arrange to move their workstations to less trafficked, out-of-the-way corners of the premises where a meddling boss is less apt to wander.
Of course, you can't avoid all interaction. So limit the scope of every encounter with micromanagers. Give concise answers to their inquiries but don't volunteer additional information. You won't reform them by flooding them with facts, information and reassurance.