Updated September 19th, 2023
Are you in a situation where your current boss won’t let you do the work you were hired to do or are supposed to be the expert in? Then this blog post is for you. I’ll walk you through my top show you three strategies to deal with a micromanaging boss and increase the trust between the two of you so that you can use their trust to create a better work environment for you and your team.
First, I just want to say I know how frustrating it is to deal with a micromanager boss because I’ve been there, too. It is suffocating and draining to deal with someone controlling your every move.
However, this is an opportunity to pause and consider why your manager might act like that. Because we are problem solvers, we should focus on digging deep and getting to the root cause to deal with the problem. First, let’s start by considering some common reasons that led your boss to this behavior, shall we?
Micromanagement might result from different things:
Knowing the source will help you understand why they control your every move and help you tackle and apply the right strategies for you. That said, let’s explore some of the common causes of micromanagement:
If you see one cause you can relate to the most, evaluate why your boss micromanages your performance. Taking the time to reflect on some of your decisions or choices that have led to their micromanagement is always a good first step because it allows you to turn the ship around by making different decisions that reassure them of your capabilities.
While learning how to deal with a micromanager boss, you might find yourself in a situation where their personality is just leading to wanting absolute control of everything. If that’s the case for you, here are some strategies to help you deal with this situation.
Organization increases trust. Showing your boss your organizational skills will let them know your capabilities and tools to manage your new role perfectly.
One of my favorite tips to organize is getting a whiteboard and mapping out everything happening in your job. Your deadlines, to-do’s, tasks, everything, map it out. Once you have everything listed, I want you to use this matrix to help you organize.
Source: Mind Tools
This matrix helps you map out every project, deadline, and task you have to communicate effectively to your boss. You can place all your projects, tasks, to-do lists, and deadlines in the quadrants according to how much you think you need to inform your boss.
Proactively informing your boss will help decrease their micromanagement and give you the most freedom to make decisions and fulfill in your new role.
When using this matrix, you have two options:
Option 1: Decide what you think your boss needs to know and keep them in the loop, or,
Option 2: Set up a meeting to ask them what they want to know and inform them accordingly.
You could say,
Offering one of these options will increase your trust and create more advantages for you as you get their input. After meeting with them, I want you to place everything on the matrix. Keep your matrix somewhere you can see and use it as your bible.
After you organize yourself, you must set up systems to inform your manager about the projects they want to know about; whether manual or automatic, providing updates will increase your trust and skills.
Here’s a tip: Look for ways to automate your updates because, after all, you have to do your work, handle your team, and offer results, so you can’t spend all your time managing your boss and figuring a practical way to keep them informed about your decisions, and actions will help you become more efficient and tactical.
Here’s an example. If a project requires you to send your boss an email update, then you should create a template for yourself and put it in an email signature. That way, when sending the update, just pull that specific signature and send the email.
Or you can use a project management tool such as Asana or Trello. You can set up different boards and reflect all your projects, tasks, and updates to your manager. This tool will centralize your work and communication and help you achieve greater results.
Using systems as a manager is necessary, especially when dealing with someone controlling; you can show them it’s okay to delegate and trust in your capacities as a team leader.
If nothing changes after all this proactive behavior, then I encourage you to have an open and honest conversation with your boss. Now, I know there’s a lot of advice out there that says that if you talk to them about it, you will make it worse. But take it from me as someone who decided not to say anything – nothing beats having an open and honest conversation.
Aim to have the conversation in a very calm, respectful, and direct manner. Let your boss know how constantly checking up on you makes you feel and is demotivating if you try to present solutions on how you two can work much better together in a way that helps you not to feel demotivated and in a way that gets them what they want.
Now, remember that a change like this will not happen overnight. So if the next day after having a conversation, it’s still the same, try to have a little patience and keep reminding them of the solution you both agreed upon.
However, if nothing has changed after some time – you have to consider your options, mainly if it is affecting you.
Dealing with a micromanaging boss can be challenging, but you can create a more productive working relationship with patience, communication, and a proactive approach. Remember that your goal is to find a balance that allows you to excel and achieve your boss’s trust by showing competence in your role. By following these strategies, you can turn a micromanaging situation into an opportunity for growth and collaboration.
Learn about our signature coaching in our New Manager Accelerator program, designed for first-time managers such as yourself. This program is built to help you become effective in your role as a people leader.
April 7, 2020