So are you in a situation where your current boss just won’t let you do the work that you were either hired to do or you’re supposed to be the expert in?
First things first, I just want to say I know how frustrating this must be for you because I’ve been there too. I know how suffocating and draining it is to deal with somebody that is micromanaging your every move. But we do have to stop for a second and just really think through why it is your boss might be micromanaging your every move because after all, we are problem solvers. And so we want to dig deep and get to the root cause of the issue so that we can actually deal with the problem.
Some of the most known reasons for micromanagement are:
Given that these are some of the reasons why some managers micromanage – I want you to think about some of the decisions you have made that might have caused the micromanagement.
For example, have you missed a deadline or two that has perhaps caused this mistrust between you and your boss? Or could it be that you are inexperienced in this role and so your boss is just not willing to give up that rope to you yet? Or maybe you have delivered every single project on time. But the problem is that it wasn’t delivered in a way that they actually expected it to be and as a result it is causing them to hover over your every move.
Taking the time to reflect on some of the decisions or choices you have made that have led to perhaps their micromanagement is always a good first step because it allows you to turn the ship around by making difference decisions that reassures them of your capabilities.
In some cases a micromanager is just one of those people that does not want to give up control and they are hovering over everybody’s last move. And so if that’s the case, you find yourself in – here are a few things that will make your life a lot easier when it comes to managing up.
Get yourself a whiteboard and jot down everything. I don’t care what you use. Map out everything that’s going on with you right now. Your deadlines, your to do’s, your tasks, everything, map it all out.
Once you have every single thing listed, I want you to use this matrix to help you get organized.
Now yes, this is straight up stolen from stakeholder management. But I personally think it’s a great matrix to use for helping you to manage your micromanaging boss because at the end of the day, that is what you’re going to have to do manage them.
So what this matrix does is it really helps you to map out every project, every deadline, every task that you have in a way that helps you to communicate as effectively as possible with your boss. You can choose to place all your projects, tasks, to do’s lists and your deadlines in the quadrants according to how much you think you need to inform your boss. Here’s the thing, all micromanagers follow a certain pattern. They want to be in the know. So proactively keeping them informed would be in your best interest.
When using this matrix you have two options. Option 1, you can decide what you think they need to be kept in the loop on or option 2, simply set up a meeting to ask them what on the list they need to be kept informed on. You could say ” Hi Cathy, I’d like to set up a few minutes to talk to you about how we can work together in a way that keeps you informed on the projects that I’m working on without you having to come to me. Can we set up a few minutes on the calendar so that we can go through my projects and see where you would like to be informed and where you don’t need to be involved?”
This way you are getting their input on the matter. After you have this meeting with them, I want you to place everything on the matrix. Keep your matrix somewhere that you can see it and use it as your bible.
After you get yourself organized it’s important to set up systems for yourself so that you can make sure you are keeping them informed on the things they want to be in the know about. These systems should be systems to remind you to update and systems that send out automatic updates. Because here’s the deal, you should be looking into how you can automate some of these updates because even though these updates are essential for them – you don’t really have time to be constantly sending updates. I mean, after all you actually have work to do and a team to lead, right? So you can’t be spending all your time managing your boss. You have to figure out a way to do keep them informed and still get what you need to get done accomplished.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. If there’s a project that requires you to send your boss an email update, then maybe what you want to do is create a template for yourself and put it in an email signature. That way when it’s time to send the update all you have to do is pull out that specific signature and bam – email sent.
Or you can use a project management tool such as Asana or Trello. Both have free accounts that you can use and they are both very simple to use. You can set it up so that you can put all your projects in there and have the updates go out to your manager once you check off complete on the list. This way they always know what you are doing as you are doing it.
If after all this proactive behaviour nothing changes, 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’re actually gonna make it worse. But take it from me as someone that 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 them know how the constant checking up on you is making you feel and that it is demotivating. Present solutions on how you two can work much better together in a way that helps you to not feel demotivated and in a way that gets them what they want.
Now I will say that you want to try to remember that with a change like this, it’s not going to happen overnight. So if the next day after having a conversation, it’s still the same, then aim to have a little bit of patience and keep reminding them of the solution that you both agreed upon.
However that being said, if after some time nothing has changed – you really have to consider what your options are…especially if it is affecting you.
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April 7, 2020