Tired of being micromanaged? Here are some actionable tips for managing micromanagers and getting your career back on track.
Nobody likes a boss breathing down their neck. It suggests they don’t believe you can succeed on your own. Left unchecked, micromanagement can be a source of stress and frustration, making it difficult to feel empowered and take ownership of your work.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Here are four tips for dealing with a micromanaging boss and developing a more productive and positive work environment.
1. tell your boss how you feel
If your boss is generally a good manager but occasionally prone to nitpicking and overattention, consider letting it slide. After all, everyone has their faults and quirks. But if their micromanagement is persistent and impacts your performance and morale, you need to schedule a private meeting to tell them how you feel.
Be direct but also tactful and empathetic. For every boss who micromanages out of malice, there are probably 10 who believe they’re doing the right thing. They may have been micromanaged themselves, or they may have a leadership style that emphasizes control and attention to detail.
In either of those scenarios, your boss may instantly jump on the defensive. To keep the conversation constructive, avoid broad and generalizing statements that start with “you always” or “you are,” which can make your boss feel blamed or judged. Emphasize the positive effects of not being micromanaged rather than the adverse effects of being micromanaged. “I work best when given more autonomy” is far more effective than “You never give me any room to work on my own.”
2. nip micromanagement in the bud
If your boss is constantly checking up on you, you can beat them to the punch by regularly providing them with progress reports. Letting them know what you are working on and sharing your completed projects might preempt their need to disrupt your flow. At first, this might feel like extra work, but ultimately, it could wean your boss off their micromanagement habit.
3. negotiate professional boundaries
Boundaries are important in all our relationships, including ones at work. Professional boundaries could include setting limits on your work hours, your communication channels or the types of tasks you’re willing to take on. If your boss crosses a boundary you’ve established, be assertive and communicate your concerns in a calm and professional manner.
Keep the focus on achieving results. Make it clear that you’re committed to meeting your work goals but you also need to establish boundaries to work effectively and maintain a healthy work/life balance.
4. take your services elsewhere
While we all want to stick it out and overcome any challenges that come our way, sometimes the only solution is to quit. If you’ve tried everything to deal with your micromanaging boss and your work environment has become toxic, handing in your notice may be your best option. Don’t feel guilty or like you’re giving up — leaving a job that’s negatively impacting your mental health is a brave and empowering choice.
Remember, quitting should be a last resort after you’ve exhausted all other options. But if nothing else works, take your services elsewhere and find a job that allows you to thrive and grow. You’ll find plenty of opportunities in our job seekers section, plus the inside scoop on roles that match your skills and experience.