How to Survive a Micromanaging Boss

Do you get the sense that you’re every action at work is being watched? Are you hearing footsteps in your sleep? Did you just receive a weekend text, followed by a panicked voicemail and 10 rapid-fire email alerts? Well, it’s quite possible you have a micromanaging boss intruding on your personal space.

The line between “involved” and “obsessive” blurs when you have a micromanaging supervisor. Dealing with constant scrutiny and overbearing attention can be stressful and distracting, as well as detrimental to your professional development. It’s also just a pain in the neck. Follow these steps to better deal with the micromanager in your office.

Take steps to gain your boss’s confidence. 

While you can’t control anyone else’s actions, there are tactics you can try to gain some breathing room. Show that you’re dependable and trustworthy by following rules and keeping promises. Providing pre-emptive status updates and paying close attention to even the tiniest details can also help. Micromanagers often have trust issues; don't give him or her any reason to question your competency or loyalty. 

Communicate as effectively as possible. 

To minimize meddling later on, talk through projects upfront to show your boss that you have a firm handle on what needs to be done. In every conversation with your micromanaging supervisor, demonstrate that you’re listening carefully by responding with appropriate comments and questions, nodding your head at the right moments and repeating back important details. 

Teach your manager how to delegate … subtly.

If your micromanaging boss is reluctant to delegate meaningful work, ask for more responsibilities and tasks. Say your expertise is payroll accounting. Why not try to lend your financial savvy to a bigger project in another finance area? Offering an extra set of eyes on a business conversion plan or a cost analysis report, for example, can go a long way in demonstrating your value. When your boss eventually entrusts you with a new project, establish clear expectations surrounding your respective roles in advance. Again, by showing your capabilities and clarifying guidelines before projects start, you’ll avoid an onslaught of emails later in the process.

Don’t let a micromanaging boss stymie your efforts to reach the next level in your career. Work on gaining the trust of management and try to steer your boss toward delegation. Don’t forget to say thank you for new opportunities and ask how you can improve next time. This will show appreciation and intention of growing professionally. 

Do you have any tried-and-true tactics for escaping the rule of a micromanager? Share them in the comments section below.

Related post: Be a Macromanager, Not a Micromanager: How to Delegate to Boost Productivity