Dealing With Micromanagement

Brass Tack Thinking - Dealing with MicromanagementWe’ve all been there at one point or another. Working with a boss who can’t or won’t delegate. Looks over our shoulder all the time. Obsesses over the most minute details. I’ve had quite a few people talk to me recently looking for some advice about dealing constructively with the micromanagers in their midst, so here I am to proffer a few ideas.

Why Does this Happen?

Micromanagement comes from….

Fear: Of someone else getting credit. Of blame if something goes wrong. Of personal failure on the part of the individual doing it. Fear that if they don’t put their stamp on it, no one will see how hard they work.

Insecurity: People who obsessively micromanage often aren’t sure they’ve got what it takes themselves, so they step on other people in order to make themselves feel better. This bit can range from the annoying to outright bullying.

Need for control: This can be not understanding that there’s more than one way to the finish line. It can be ego, bravado, or a false need to assert authority in order to demonstrate pecking order or dominance. It can be their own disorganization showing through in trying to force others to be organized for them.

Lack of Trust: Whether warranted or not, they don’t feel like the people involved can do the job handed to them. Or they don’t think things are going to get done if they’re not touching every detail. That can be a symptom of the wrong team sometimes, or the right people and a simple lack of confidence that they can deliver.

How Do You Deal?

You’re not going to change the spots on the leopard. Many micromanagers don’t know they’re doing it, or won’t fess to it if they do (and get super defensive if you suggest they might be). It can be heavily wired into some people’s personalities, and only *they* can ever be the ones to recognize it and change the behavior. You, however, can decide how you’ll react and behave in light of what they hand you.

1. Listen carefully.
Being heard is important to a micromanager, and if you can reiterate what they’ve said to you, it mitigates potential misunderstandings. Stay super clear on expectations, and repeat back to them what they’ve expressed to you in an objective way, as in “This is the project as I understand it, due by this date, with this goal. Is that correct?”

2. Communicate like crazy.
Proactively set up meetings, calls, reports, or status updates before you need to. Continually communicate about priorities and deadlines to be sure you’re in agreement with what’s most important, and what’s reasonable in terms of execution timeframes, resources, etc. Communicating early and often helps reassure your manager that you’ve got things handled.

3. Ask for input.
Everyone likes to feel some ownership in the stuff they work on, and micromanagers more than anyone. Ask for their opinion on items during your project, and ask them to help you make decisions when you can. Give them a voice (while being confident enough to share your own), and let them still feel ownership over the project even if they’ve let go of the details.

4. Offer feedback.
If you’re brave enough and think they’re open to it, let them know how they’re affecting you with micromanagement, and offer specific examples. “When you asked me three times for the status on that report, I felt like you didn’t trust me to get it finished, and as a result, I wasn’t super motivated to complete it.” This isn’t a conversation for 4:30 on a Friday. Schedule time with the manager, let them know up front that you want to discuss the style and details of your working relationship, and that your goal is to help make it better.

5. Turn it to them.
When you illustrate that feedback, ask them “How can I make you feel better informed about my projects or progress so that you can focus on the things you need to get done?” Acknowledging that they have other responsibilities that might need their attention can help them realize they’re messing too much in the dirty details.

6. Learn their tendencies.
If you can identify consistent threads in the things that get them all hot and bothered, you can preempt them by offering advance information or input, asking for feedback, or laying out a plan of attack so they feel comfortable with where you’re headed. Is your boss most nervous at the start of a project, or near the deadline? Are their worries more around details of execution, or how they report into *their* boss about progress?

7. Pick your Battles.
Enough said (and if you need more, read here). Not everything is worth arguing over. If you create a war over everything that irritates you, you won’t get anyone’s attention when you really do speak up about something important.

8. Reward good behavior.
When they let you be, thank them for it, as in “Thanks for trusting me to put together the plan for the campaign. It was great to have the time and space to get it done on time, so here it is”. Subtly reinforce the behavior you DO want by being available, positive, and accommodating when you’re given some breathing room. And when you get some slack, deliver. Don’t hang yourself with the rope, or you’ll never win their trust again.

9. Look in the mirror.
Is it just you being treated this way, or is there a consistent pattern with this person across your whole team? We’re not always blameless, so it’s important to consider what role you might be playing in your manager’s behavior. Are you contributing to it with a lack of communication, attitude, work ethic, or otherwise? Being honest with yourself can help you get some clarity around a solution.

The Breaking Point

There is such a thing as the time when you have to walk away. If you’ve tried some constructive, objective methods for dealing, and you aren’t getting anywhere, it might be time to seek greener pastures. That’s the truth. When do you know it’s time?

If your personal life suffers, be it your sleep habits, eating habits, or relationships with spouses or children. If you’re withdrawing from friends, avoiding social situations, or finding yourself feeling depressed, you’ve got to pay attention to how your work environment affects those things.

If you’ve lost all passion and motivation for the work itself, and simply can’t face going to work in the morning, you have to listen to why that is. If your manager is playing a large part in that equation, you need to take action to either work on the situation, or get out of it.

If you ask yourself “is this fixable?” and the answer is no, it’s time to start laying out a plan for what’s next.

And remember this: you are not a powerless victim, here. You are not imprisoned in your job, and you have the ability to rely on your own actions to get out of it. The question is what you’re willing to do now to change your situation for the long term, because ultimately, you aren’t going to change the people around you.

You’ve got the tools, and you deserve to work in an environment that’s healthy, supportive, and conducive to doing great work. Take charge of your own universe, take a deep breath, and grab hold of the opportunity to improve your professional situation.

What’s Your Story?

Have some comments or ideas about how you’ve dealt with a micromanager? Is leaving the only option, or have you found some strategies that have worked to salvage your situation? Have you blogged about your story and shared your experience with others?

We want to hear about it. The comments are yours.

  • http://www.vmrcommunications.com Hugh Macken

    I like what I think is a basic premise underlying your advice here : we can't change people, places and things. What we can change is our attitude about the situation (if it needs changing) and freely choose a response we can be proud of rather than playing the role of helpless victim. In my own experience more often than not, when I point the finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at me, the man in the mirror. I've been on both sides of the table at work and your advice above serves as a good reminder for managers and those who report to them: seek first to understand, not to be understood.

  • http://www.careersoutthere.com/ MarcLuber

    Great post. This is my first time here…I arrived via Ryan Stephens' site. I originally moved to LA to be in the music business…and like most, I had to start at the bottom. I was working in the marketing department of a major record label and had a boss who started out as a big-time micromanager who also acted like a female Ari Gold (Entourage) and treated me like Lloyd. Between the micromanagement and the Ari Gold-like antics, I was debating whether I was better off pouring rat poison in her coffee or removing the brakes from her car…but my moral code stopped that from happening! Instead, in addition to following all of your valuable points above, I chose to win her over with humor. Once I had learned her tendencies, I felt I now understood her and could gain control of the situation and make it fixable if I could just get her to crack up a handful of times. I made sure to bring my sense of humor's A-game to work each day…and the plan worked. I got her laughing a lot and eventually was even able to get her to laugh at herself…which in turn got her to loosen up and give me tons of real, hands-on responsibility. Soon after that we became friends, my role at the company changed, and when I wanted to get a job at a music publishing company, she arranged a meeting for me with the president of the company…which ultimately led to my getting hired.

    • http://www.vmrcommunications.com Hugh Macken

      Marc – I’ve heard it said every adult needs 10 good belly laughs a day to maintain overall health. I just heard that yesterday (in listening to Stress Less by Dr Colbert in my car).

      In the workplace I’m always afraid that something I think is funny will be deemed offensive by someone else. It’s great you were able to have a healthy sense of humor without being perceived as crossing the line.

      • http://careersoutthere.com/about/ MarcLuber

        it’s a fine line….requires a bit of a dance

  • http://twitter.com/Rochelle_Rich Rochelle Rich

    Asking

  • http://twitter.com/Rochelle_Rich Rochelle Rich

    Asking for input is a good one. I have used a similar tactic where I ask the manager a lot of questions to help lead them to my conclusion. Sometimes a good idea isn’t a good idea unless it comes from the manager. By asking lots of questions I can lead them to my line of thinking and at the same time let them feel like they are making the decisions and are in control.

  • http://www.grizzard.com/author/epratum/ Eric Pratum

    So, you didn't hear this from me, but I may or may not have had the perfect storm of a micromanager and just all around poor manager boss in a previous life. This person was likeable at first as many people are, but it quickly became clear that s/he was a poor judge of character/ability (eg. hired underskilled people & at other times didn't hired great people because “I got a bad feeling about him/her”). That wouldn't have been so bad if we weren't already understaffed and overworked, but because of it, I ended up spending way too much time training and explaining and then catching up on the evenings and weekends…only to get talked down to consistently by another manager in the company for whom I did much of my work.

    After a while, the micromanaging became such an issue that my boss was the primary bottleneck in the department. Everything had to pass through his/her hands, and as a result, our clients would often receive things weeks late because the deliverables had sat in his/her email inbox unnoticed. *Note here: I gave up reminding him/her about deadlines after months of getting nowhere.* That was no big surprise though because I got a look at his/her inbox once and there were over 1,200 unread emails…no filtering rules, no folders, no priority lists, nothing. S/he was using email like a beginner, not like a manager. I want to add here that s/he would often spend over an hour trying to determine just how to format something, all the while having you sit and watch over his/her shoulder.

    Not too long after I left, I was told that the department had essentially mutinied, gone to the micromanager's boss, and said that they could not longer work with him/her. I'm glad that I got out before that.

    It's tough when you have a boss that comes across as being highly technically skilled and a great salesperson or cheerleader for your department or company, but that person utterly has no ability to manage neither his/her own work nor that of the department.

    • Tiskismet

      Wow, did we work together?

  • http://www.grizzard.com/author/epratum/ Eric Pratum

    So, you didn't hear this from me, but I may or may not have had the perfect storm of a micromanager and just all around poor manager boss in a previous life. This person was likeable at first as many people are, but it quickly became clear that s/he was a poor judge of character/ability (eg. hired underskilled people & at other times didn't hired great people because “I got a bad feeling about him/her”). That wouldn't have been so bad if we weren't already understaffed and overworked, but because of it, I ended up spending way too much time training and explaining and then catching up on the evenings and weekends…only to get talked down to consistently by another manager in the company for whom I did much of my work.

    After a while, the micromanaging became such an issue that my boss was the primary bottleneck in the department. Everything had to pass through his/her hands, and as a result, our clients would often receive things weeks late because the deliverables had sat in his/her email inbox unnoticed. *Note here: I gave up reminding him/her about deadlines after months of getting nowhere.* That was no big surprise though because I got a look at his/her inbox once and there were over 1,200 unread emails…no filtering rules, no folders, no priority lists, nothing. S/he was using email like a beginner, not like a manager. I want to add here that s/he would often spend over an hour trying to determine just how to format something, all the while having you sit and watch over his/her shoulder.

    Not too long after I left, I was told that the department had essentially mutinied, gone to the micromanager's boss, and said that they could not longer work with him/her. I'm glad that I got out before that.

    It's tough when you have a boss that comes across as being highly technically skilled and a great salesperson or cheerleader for your department or company, but that person utterly has no ability to manage neither his/her own work nor that of the department.

  • Anonymous

    Great post Amber, and completely on target. I would add that sometimes micromanagement is a corporate culture issue, and a manager is responding to being micromanaged themselves. In my experience, the best response to micromanagement is to play offense for them to the higher levels. When you are recognized for a win, simply say “X was instrumental is helping me achieve that, I really valued their input on the project.” When the manager knows you have their back publicly, it eases a lot of the fear/insecurity issues and creates more trust/space.

  • http://www.thetrainingfactor.com/ Jonathan Saar

    Amber this is my highlight article of the week. I especially like your opening thoughts on trying to change the spots on a leopard…it rarely happens. Thanks for the great points on how folks can cope and manage the situation from their own perspective to at least lessen the pain of micro managers. Hopefully with enough education, management will understand how much they lessen productivity by using this style of dictator type of leadership.

  • Anonymous

    Amber,
    Very well thought out & informative post. Some excellent points. Having been in sales for many years, I’ve been on the receiving end and have also been guilty of micromanagement as well. Why? In my case (as a Sales Manager & Director of Sales) it was lack of trust. Really good salespeople are hard to find and mediocre sales people are hard to train – they do just enough to get by so they think, “Why is he getting on me for? I’m not the worst one here.”

    Having been very successful as a salesperson myself and knowing what it took to be successful in my field, I never really believed my sales force was doing all they could to achieve our sales goals so I felt I had to stay on top of them. In the end, those that were good got better and I ended up butting heads (or letting go of) those that were mediocre or poor who didn’t conform. In sales, unfortunately, only the bottom line matters and I had someone over me checking our sales numbers weekly who didn’t want to hear any excuses.

    I will add that one of the ways you can “Deal” with a micromanager is to surpass expectations. When I was the top seller, my sales manager never bothered me much nor did I bother my top producers very much either. Whatever they were doing, whether they learned it from me or not, was working so I just let them be and focused on the ones “on the fence” or below.

    Or you can just go into business yourself, which is a whole other conversation but at least you won’t have to worry about being micromanaged by anyone other than yourself (and I can live with that!).

    Nuff said.

  • http://www.revenuedrivenmarketing.com Su Doyle

    I wish I had this advice years ago — it could have saved me on asprin and sleepless nights!

    I would add a 10th bullet: understand what motivates your micromanager. Micromanagement generally compounds as it trickles down. If the CEO is concerned about hitting quarterly goals, every member of the mgt team will feel (and pass down) the heat. Knowing what the underlying goals are will help sort out the critical from the trivial.
    -Su Doyle
    @sudoyle

  • http://twitter.com/froidianslip Fred

    You've pointed out the reasons that people micromanage, and none of the them are good. Then you say the recipients should change their behavior to cope with a micromanager. Isn't this just enabling and reinforcing the micromanagement cycle? I agree that you can't change spots on a leopard, but is changing your own spots better?

  • http://twitter.com/froidianslip Fred

    None of the reasons you pointed for micromanagement are 'good'. Then you go on to say the recipients should change their behavior to cope with a micromanager. Isn't this just enabling and reinforcing the micromanagement cycle? I agree that you can't change spots on a leopard, but is changing your own spots better?

  • AmberNaslund

    Fred, the point is that when you're in the situation, if you can't change them, you can try to adjust the situation, or at the very least, cope until you have an exit plan. Sometimes, being the more emotionally intelligent side of the equation is what's needed in order to at least deal with the status quo until you can either affect longer term change, or find a way out.

  • http://jorge.threefivesup.com Jorge Jaime

    When I started working at a Bank I was micromanaged by the assistant manager in my are. Though she had supposedly no power over me, she was sitting behind me asking me what I was doing and monitoring every single step I took, even how many times I got up to drink water or go to the bathroom. This was really annoying and I made me lose my motivation. Now that I've read your post I think it was a problem of the person, but also of the organization. As organizations need to educate their managers in how to lead teams effectively and test them on that regularly. My current organization does that as one of the board members is a leadership teacher and author.

    Back to my experience. I started to apply better communication with that person and asking her for help whenever I thought she could help, so she could be aware of where I was doing the project I was assigned. I also tried to provide feedback, but the situation never got any better. So I moved to my next step. I was still at College for that job and I was taking a Leadership workshop that helped us develop or asses what a leader needs and what we needed to change to be leaders and not micromanagers. So I decided to apply a bit of that and started to greet the assistant manager cheerfully, ask her about her kids or how she was doing with her projects, offer my help in small stuff and always be way ahead of what she was doing. It worked for the next months.

    Sadly the Manager was as a micromanager as her assistant so finally the situation got to where I saw there wasn't a way to get over it as this was an epidemic through the organization, so I decided to leave and study how do teams need to be lead in order to avoid this. As part of my essay (that I did for college) I found that sometimes it's us who get nervous and fearful of micromanagements and this leads to worse results and it creates a loop of poor results that end up in more micro management and so on.

    I think another key factor to stop micromanagement is to show the leader qualities in ourselves to serve as an example for our managers. This will start from our understanding that leadership doesn't need any formal power. Managing does.

  • http://candidkatie.com Katie Morse

    Wow – great advice. I think this applies to people earlier in their career (the #u30pro crew) just as much as it does people that have found themselves unexpectedly working for a micromanager due to changing companies, or even an internal re-org.

    Your tips are fantastic, and the last point really hits home – if you truly can't stand it and it's ruining your life, sometimes you just have to leave. I've worked for many a manager in my time and they've ranged from the uber hands off, to the uber, UBER hands on/micromanager.

    Great advice and I know that I'll be passing this along if anyone ever comes to me talking about their manager being of the micromanager variety.

    Cheers!
    Katie

  • AmberNaslund

    Something about the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference…

  • AmberNaslund

    Glad to have you here, Marc. I like your approach to humor; it can diffuse many a situation and help everyone involved not take themselves quite so seriously. When it works, it's a wonderful thing.

  • AmberNaslund

    What's interesting is a work you used that caught my eye: underskilled. In your story that person was hiring underskilled people, but one thing I didn't mention in my post is that many micromanagers are underskilled themselves, and are compensating or attempting to not get “found out” by taking a heavy hand in management. It certainly happens with veteran managers, but I see it a lot with new managers, too.

    • http://www.vmrcommunications.com Hugh Macken

      Good point. Letting go is hard when you fear being let go, which probably explains why micromanagement tends to be (i suspect) more prevalent in down economic times.

  • AmberNaslund

    Su, that's a great point, and a bit of where I was headed with understanding their tendencies. If you can be even a little empathetic about the pressures *they* feel or start to understand the motivation behind their behavior, you can definitely make a bit of progress.

  • http://www.grizzard.com/author/epratum/ Eric Pratum

    Thanks, Amber. And yep, I think I would definitely agree with both of you. For some reason, this post made me think of the Seinfeld episode where George tells them that he looks busy by just looking annoyed all of the time: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Seinfeld#The_Hot_T

  • Kelly

    Micromanagers get locked into a pattern of behavior because they think it works for them and it's been reinforced by the fact that they've been rewarded by management and allowed to climb the corporatate ladder. Behavior that allows someone to be successful as an individual contributor doesn't necessarily translate into the behavior of a good manager. While over communicating may help you cope with the situation, a skip level meeting with your manager's manager or with HR may be worthwhile. Management training is an important part of building strong organizations. We discussed Living With a Control Freak Boss in a blog post in April on Tyrometer.com.

  • Kelly

    Micromanagers get locked into a pattern of behavior because they think it works for them and it's been reinforced by the fact that they've been rewarded by management and allowed to climb the corporatate ladder. Behavior that allows someone to be successful as an individual contributor doesn't necessarily translate into the behavior of a good manager. While over communicating may help you cope with the situation, a skip level meeting with your manager's manager or with HR may be worthwhile. Management training is an important part of building strong organizations. We discussed Living With a Control Freak Boss in a blog post in April on Tyrometer.com.

  • http://twitter.com/6Consulting 6consulting

    Great post.

    The thing about micromanagement is that it breads frustration on all sides – or at least that's how I’ve experienced it. I've been in situations where a manager would look over my shoulder when drafting an email and demand for certain words to be changed…to synonyms. Needless to say that was frustrating and slightly soul draining.

    At the time I didn’t address it right away but I should have. I think the sooner you voice your opinion the easier it will be to resolve or diffuse the situation. I dealt with this form of micro management for a while and when I started pushing back it only caused friction between my manager and I as my manager didn’t understand why all of a sudden I was reacting differently.

    As with anything really, I think the sooner you address a problem the better. And I think any manager should know that you’ll never get the best out of someone when you’re micromanaging them – what you’re doing is creating a clone of yourself, and different opinions, ways of working and personalities is what makes a team or business richer and more successful.

    Olivia Landolt
    @6Consulting

  • http://www.nevermindthemanager.com Frode H

    Great article about micromanagement. Picking your battles is important. Rewarding good behavior is an excellent advice.

  • Amanda

    I have struggled with the micromanager many times in my career as well. I would take skilled and knowledgeable, over “nice” any day. A manager should care about their people, but they aren't there to be your buddy. It can be hard for new managers not to feel isolated. I had the “nice first impression but underskilled manager” for 4 years, then I had the best manager anyone could ever want – leader, mentor, advocate, and then I had the not so much underskilled, as inexperienced and just the wrong person for the job, so they micromanaged out of fear of screwing up. Now, I am in a new position and I am the manager – brought into a small company to help make them more efficient, for the support team to have a real manager, and to help define and implement processes. It is a huge undertaking, but very rewarding. However, I am struggling with not wanting to be a micromanager, but this group has had no management and no real accountability requirements and I am already seeing things fall through the cracks because I don't want to stay “on” them constantly. I like what you said about how to use meetings. I have implemented a weekly status meeting and they are all accountable for their updates. However, every day in this environment is a challenge, and I have to work very hard to not become the manager I once hated working with every day. However, we have customers and a bottom line and I too am accountable to a manager for those results.

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  • ProMicromanagement

    Really enjoyed this article, and agree with it quite a bit…but in some (or many) cases, micromanagement isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Point 9 could actually start this list. Many people who feel they are being micromanaged may need it. 7 years ago, my boss told me “If I’m micromanaging you, it’s because you’re not doing your job. Do your job well, and I’ll leave you alone.” This was the only motivation I needed to do my job well. I developed a good feedback loop with my boss, and I felt I was left alone, while my co-workers suffered under his micromanagement.

  • Eric

    I agree with all that was said about micromanagers and why they act the way they do because of insecurity and a need for control. I have dealt with them through the years and it is a balancing act of trying to get them to back off a little bit while also just dealing with it yourself. I don’t know if venting really is a way to deal with it but I def enjoy hearing others stories and to know other people are in the same boat. I came to a crossroads in my life for work and had the option to take a job with decent pay and security or pursue my passions. So I pursued a strange passion about my loathing of corp America. I started a website for people to vent about their work day blues http://micromanajerks.com/ and also just to laugh at… laughters the best medicine after all. Its funny to see the responses you get from people. Lot of bad management out there that could use some adjusting.

    • http://brasstackthinking.com Tamsen McMahon (@tamadear)

      What a great site! Thank you!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2RUQTGIIFEIUACV6QIWB26ZNPE Ranas Sin Lengua

      Thank you thank you for your site!!

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  • Mike Cusack

    Two individuals with PhDs in Industrial Psychology offer their views on Micromanagement at http://www.transassoc.com/org-real-micromanagement.

  • Jenna Carlstadt

    Great advice and good “short-term” skills to develop for dealing with the problem of micromanagement, but micromanagement is what it is — unacceptable. What drives it, is as you have listed, indivual shortcomings that are supremely negative, and dealing with micromanagement through the coping advice provided is simply enabling the behavior and compounding the problem. Since changing the spots on a leopard isn’t doable, my advice is to exit for a manager with a better and more mature management style and a healthier environment. No one needs the grief.

  • Obady doo

    I used to be a manager for over 300 people, I was constructive and believed in helping my team meet their goals.  Unfortunately due to the economy i was laid off and had to seek a much more humble position.  I still love what I do even though it’s totally different, but Gosh my manager micromanages every one so hard that your could cut the air with a knife.. I am not sure how much longer I can take this

  • Debbie

    I have the problem that the micromanager is my business partner.  Onto the third month of working with her and I am counting the days till we can either sell the business or one of us buys the other out.
    She is constantly checking, suggesting how things could be done, Looking over my shoulder and contradicting me in front of people.  I got a call from her on my (one a week) day off today to suggest the supplier must have sent the wrong items, intimating I had made a stupid choice. Previously I have had three calls on my day off because she can’t find something and I must have misplaced it.  I am finding it very hard to deal with her constant meddling, contradictions, blame laying and changing moods.
    This has left me dreading going to work and constantly stressed, I swear she will give me a heart attack.
    Unfortunately the option of walking away is financially impossable.

  • Mary

    Thank you for the article. I have a very close ‘friend’ that is such a micromanager, it has trickled into her social life, and as a result has affected our relationship.
    I am the type of person that is not threatened by others, or does not need to feel superior to others. However, every encounter we’ve had, she has managed to make me look foolish, incompetent, stupid, inferior.
    I usually ignore it, don’t take it personally, and try to limit my exposure to her in certain situations. I’m not petty, so ‘confronting’ someone about petty issues seems like a waste of time.
    It has gotten so bad, now that we have kids and are on some same school committees, that I am to the point of strangling her. She is behaving disgustingly obnoxious. I literally have limited my exposure to her so much, that now I only talk to her at family gatherings.
    I don’t know what else to do. She definitely doesn’t know she behaves this way. I just, like you said, think she feels threatened by me, and she feels inferior towards me, so she has to throw me under the bus at every opportunity.

    I keep telling myself, She can fight all the battles she wants…. But I’m not going to wear myself out doing so. I’ll gain nothing from entertaining this behavior.

    But I think that only makes her more determined.

  • Katherine Reichling

    Great posting.  I think at some point everyone has been both the micromanager and the one being micromanaged.  Sometimes it’s called for, other times it’s not.  Here’s another article that may interest you. I found it to be helpful.  http://www.transassoc.com/org-real-micromanagement/

  • Matt

    I think that this was an important article to publish on the internet. I have set aside some time to analyse my current employment situation with a company director and self appointed Micro Manager in my organisation. It was helpful to read your points especially at the end of the article particularly points 7 Pick Your Battles, 9. Look in the mirror. I had been asking myself is my situation fixable and the answer is definately no, the article  because if things dont change, well…. things dont CHANGE! It was good to have some of my “gut instincts” confirmed by an overview of the situations you have described, and I have identified what I need to do next. Things are looking more interesting over the other side of the fence.

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  • Asavvy

    We cannot change people but being micromanaged in your home and work place is inhumane. People should not be treated as animals especially when there is confirmed sorcery involved in keeping my health as an enigma. When they are not around I feel better and not under tyranny. Every move I make is monitored with sound effects.

  • Comairconnections

    i have a problem communicating with my boss and his  deputy  since for one they are poor listeners  and they will never let you argue to a logical conclusions  on issues pertaining to the job ,all one has to do is listen to their theatricals whimsicals coz they want to hide their unskillfuness .in the morning they will arrive before anyone just to find some reason to create an impasse in the office but they fail to know that some of employees are very ceative and for that reason they want to find faults inoder not to review their packages

  • Legault Lemoine

    Thank you for the article, it is a subject more companies need to pay attention to.
    I think it is important to acknowledge some ‘personality types,’ also deal with this type of management much much better.  Admittedly, I am type A and am not among the best to react to these managers.  I admire my co workers who “roll with the [repeated] punches” better.  I’ve been honest with myself, it is not me.  I do not thrive in these managed environments and greener pastures are soon sought in this type of environment.

    Thanks again.

  • Alex

    Great post. I believe that leaving should really not be the first option. Most situation can be fixed. If you loved your work at some point, the passion can come back!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RQLO5SAE3BKOGBIGOQ5BJNFXY4 Queenie

    Insecurity, fear, and confusion were definitely at play with my last job.  My first review was “good” with wiggle room.  I steadily improved in those areas (detail, quality, communication) she criticized and gave feedback like crazy while becoming more knowledgeable about the company.  It would seem that everything should turn around, but her insecurity was never cured, and do you know what the last thing was she said to me before I left?  ”Thanks for letting me do your job.”  There you have it in a nutshell, no pun intended.  My boss was more comfortable doing my job than her own and that is inevitably what she wanted.  It was not worth fighting that battle.  The pay was not great and neither were the benefits, not to mention I had to turn around, park the car, and do self talk each day before going in there.  It just felt like a huge wall that the car could not climb over straddled the road that led into the place.  Trust me, when it gets that bad, get out of there, fast, before you head the car towards the nearest psyche unit.  I left with no other job waiting for me, debt mounting and have NO regrets!!  Life is good.  Job interview lined up for tomorrow.

  • Bola

    How would you explain the effect of micromanagement to work-life balance

  • http://hardik.practutor.com/ Hardik

    Great story you are doing great job…

  • Morgan

    I am currently working on a retirement party for a manager in the office. She asked me if I could assist her, which is what I’ve attempted to do. She has micro-managed me all the way throughout the process. This isn’t my first rodeo and I’ve coordinated larger than 35. In collecting the money for the lunch and gift, I created a spreadsheet for my personal use to keep track of what was collected.

    She saw me entering information from a collection, and she tried to tell me to revise it! She wanted to sit for 30 minutes to go over who had RSVP’d and what they ordered…..she wanted the fliers hung in specific areas. The light at the end of the tunnel is that this event is over on Wednesday and I will be extremely resistant to assisting her in the future. I understand that whatever the issue is won’t change, but that doesn’t make it easier to tolerate. There was a requisition that she asked me to submitted but she wanted to see it before I hit submit. The thing is that she doesn’t have access on her computer and you can’t just print it out. So in trying to make it so she could see it, delayed submission for a week – something she said needed to be ordered NOW. I don’t understand why she would ask for assistance, to only turn around and micromanage things.

  • Some_Good_Advise

    Leaving for greener pastures is something I’ve done many times in the past and something I would always greatly encourage anyone to do. Look at it from this perspective, your strongest strength is to take control of the situation. What better way to do that then to be confident in your own “hard skill sets” and tell your boss “see ya”.

    Micro-managers eventually all fail, especially as they get to senior management positions. ;) Learn to delegate, learn to empower, learn to trust. Without that your strongest and smartest employees are strong enough to leave and find gainful employment elsewhere.

  • Win

    Thans for this site & advices…I have been working in a terrible work situation although seriously honest that I’m very hardworking. Handling almost all from major factory paperwork, billings, accounts to general works as I’m the only worker in this company…But everyday I have been monitored closely every 5 min visit to my desk to check what I’m doing, going through all documents on my table, complain minute details on my job, check on me via phone calls on my punctuality, checked my e-mails….For pass 1-2 years I have tried all methods to gain their trust but to vain…
    I wonder shall I change jobs or any other methods I can use?