28 Jun

How to Manage a Micromanaging Boss: 3 Career Improvement Secrets

Micromanaging Boss

Many of us have experienced the stress of a boss who is like a nagging backseat driver. So here are three tips that I’ve found to be quite effective at successfully managing the micromanager.

#1 Psych them out

  • First it’s important for you to understand the psychology of this type of boss who wants to know every detail of each task.
  • The biggest reason is that they are afraid of looking bad and putting their own career in jeopardy. They subscribe to the notion “If you want something done right, then do it yourself.”
  • Recognize this kind of boss as soon as possible, so you can start dealing with them. Otherwise if too much time passes the relationship may become flawed and be harder to repair.

#2 Mimic their communication style

  • Pay attention to how they prefer to communicate. Some bosses want emails and texts, while others prefer conversations or face-to-face briefings.
  • While some want details, others just want fast facts and bullet points. Watch how they communicate and then use a similar style to report back to them and keep them in the loop.
  • By proactively keeping them well informed you assure them that you’re on top of things in a proactive and transparent way, and that makes their job of micromanagement much easier.

#3 Don’t take it personally

  • If you don’t identify this kind of boss then you run the risk of blaming yourself for problems in the working relationship.
  • Remember that it’s their issue, not yours. They’d have the same problems with anyone because they will chronically try to micromanage everyone in their environment.
  • But if you unlock the key to communicating with this kind of boss then he or she will value you as an irreplaceable team member and asset – the only person they trust. Then you can leverage that into career advancement and promotion.

Please tell me about your worst micromanaging superior. What tips can you share for helping to deal with one of these controlling bosses?



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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion System™.

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Sarah Hathorn
Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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