November 30, 2011

help! I'm being micromanaged!

If you have been micromanaged in the past, you will know very well what this looks (and feels) like. But for those of us who would like to diagnose our current situation at work, here are some signs that you are indeed dealing with a micromanager:
  • They resist delegating tasks
  • They become intensely involved in every aspect of a project
  • They enjoy correcting small details of your work more than evaluating the overall outcome
  • They sometimes take back an assignment from you if they find a mistake in your work
  • They find it hard to let others make decisions without them

If you have experienced being managed like this, I'm sure you know how frustrating and demoralising it can be. It might make you feel paralysed, or constantly craving for your manager to trust you more. Being micromanaged may also limit your performance if you are never given some free reign when approaching a project. I can only imagine how hard this must be for the creative souls among us!

So what can you do from your side to work on changing this pattern in your relationship with your manager? Here are a few thoughts:
  • When a new idea or issue arises, make sure you gather as much info as possible on the topic, and instead of waiting for your assignment, pitch a suggestion for how you would approach it if it were your project. Mention that you would love to give it a try (a micromanager usually thinks he is the only one capable of coming up with a detailed plan).
  • Create/design a project you feel really confident to tackle on your own. Ask if you can coordinate it in an effort to show your project management skills. If all goes well, this will not only boost your confidence, but also your manager's openness to delegating.
  • Instead of waiting for your manager to ask for updates, schedule a regular time slot in your week to update him on your progress. Remember to add lots of details to show that you have thought of everything. This way he'll see that you are proactive and capable of managing the timeline of the project.
  • Be patient and try one experiment at a time. See this as a challenge in your career instead of an excuse to stagnate. It will require some initiative and planning from your side, but it will be worth the effort. 

Remember that your manager is also human, and probably has a reason of some kind for doing things this way. Trying to change the patterns in your relationship is a more realistic (and respectful) goal than trying to change the person. Check out these posts I found on why people micromanage and how to stop being micromanaged.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Kobie,

    Excellent points you make here and great links to the Harvard Business Review. I've never quite understood the mindset of a micromanager. After all, such behavior usually brings on more stress to employees, effects productivity and can often times lead to poor retention. The best advice I took this post is to not take the actions of a micromanager is often times their insecurity and need to control that drives their actions, not necessarily incompetence or inadequacy on your part.

    P.S. I was lead here from your guest post on Classy Career Girl. Great work! :)


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