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Thought of the Week: Dealing with Micromanagement

Dealing with Micromanagement


You may be working for a micromanager. It can be a frustrating and stressful environment. As much as you may want to tell them to “Back off!” that may not be an option. However, there are some other techniques you can use to better manage your micromanager.


Micromanagement originates from two main sources. First, you are not performing at the agreed level and the manager wants to improve your performance. Unfortunately, instead of employing coaching techniques that may actually help you, they are constantly asking for updates. Rather than improving the situation, they simply contribute to your underperformance.


Here, the easiest way to get them off your back is to demonstrate improvement and attainment of the agreed upon goals. You need to have an honest conversation with yourself about the reason why your performance is under par. Can you get back on track? What help might you need?


You may want to develop a plan to approach your manager to ask for help. Show them your roadmap to success and ask for their input and support. Demonstrate your commitment to improving and get them helping you rather than nagging you.


The second source of micromanagement resides in the manager. This person may not have the skills or experience to understand their role as a leader. They are focused on control rather than helping you to be the best version of yourself possible.


One strategy is to ask your manager exactly what information they need from you and when. Rather than waiting to get asked, you can be proactive and prepare the information desired and deliver it to them ahead of schedule (yes, early, not on time). This way, they have what they need, and you are demonstrating respect for their needs. This will often reduce the urgent calls for updates.


No one likes micromanagement. Hopefully you can engage your manager to get them to modify their behavior so you can preserve your sanity. Otherwise, it might be time to consider a new position.

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