My Boss is a Micromanager and He’s Driving Me CRAZY!

Dear Tamara:

My boss is a serious micromanager! There are times when he literally stands over my shoulder and not only watches me work, but “directs” my work. I love the work I do and I really want to keep my job, but my boss is driving me crazy. So crazy that I have already drafted my resignation letter! How can I talk with my boss about his management style?

– Ready to Resign


Dear Ready to Resign:

I have worked with my share of micromanagers (supervisors and bosses) who do not trust their employees to carry out and complete the day-to-day job functions they were hired to do. I understand that when employees are not given the space and autonomy to do the job they were hired to do, it can make for a very uncomfortable and unproductive working environment and a very long workday.

But just because your boss is managing your every move, it doesn’t mean you have to resign or ignite a job search, especially if you enjoy the work that you do. Before you take such drastic measures, you should try to figure out why your boss is a micromanager.

First, examine yourself and your work ethic. Is there something you have done that gives him reason to micromanage you? Think about your work performance, attitude, attendance, etc. It can be hard for many people to admit that they may have done something to inspire extra scrutiny from a boss. They are so irritated by being micromanaged that they fail to see their own contribution to the situation. This makes it even harder for an employee to correct behavior and/or make the necessary changes that could resolve the entire situation.

If you can honestly evaluate yourself and can’t find a reason that provokes your boss’ behavior, then maybe he is a micromanager by nature, in which case he may treat other employees the same way. In this scenario, it becomes your responsibility to figure out how to best work with your boss. I know this is not the answer that you may have wanted to hear, but it is the truth!

When I was faced with a similar situation, I got to the root of the issues that made my boss a micromanager. I realized the biggest issue was “trust.” I worked for a small company and my boss was also the owner and founder of the organization. When you have 150 percent invested interest in the success of the company, you tend to micromanage almost every aspect of the company. Even after you hire employees, it’s hard to let go of control and trust the employees to have the same stake in your business. Understanding why a boss is a micromanager can help you better deal with the situation and better understand your boss.

Sit down and have an honest conversation with your boss about the way you work and communicate. Be confident and upfront, but be sure to check your attitude and irritation at the door! Try to come up with ways to keep your boss informed and in the loop about your work and activities. A weekly update or summary report may give your boss the peace of mind he needs to know you are on top of your job and let him know that he can trust you to perform without looking over your shoulder.



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