How to Deal With a Micromanager (With Helpful Tips)

Updated 16 December 2022

A micromanager is a manager who constantly reminds employees about their work and monitors their performance closely. Some professionals excel when working with a micromanager, while others prefer more independence in their daily tasks. Learning about this style of management can help you feel more comfortable working with this type of manager. In this article, we discuss ways to deal with a micromanager, provide tips to improve your professional relationship with them and explain the steps you can take to ensure a healthy work environment.

Related: What Are Leadership Models? (With 11 Different Examples)

How to deal with a micromanager

Understanding how to deal with a micromanager can improve your relationship with your manager and allow you to feel comfortable when approaching them about work. Knowing how they function and what makes them react can help you prevent certain situations. Here are some simple steps you can follow when dealing with a micromanaging boss:

1. Ask for feedback

Your manager may see your determination to improve if you ask for feedback every month. This might be the first step in reassuring your manager that you want to listen to their advice and take it on board for future projects. Schedule weekly meetings and talk about company improvements, such as project guidelines and how you can adhere to your manager's requirements. If they notice your continuous efforts every month, they might feel more at ease with letting you work independently.

Related: How to Give (and Accept) Constructive Criticism

2. Look at their perspective

It may help to understand your manager's perspective and consider why they might micromanage your team members. Your manager might set challenging long-term goals or feel the desire to succeed in the business industry. Take the time to think about how they react, especially during busy periods in the business. You can also meet with them to learn more about their perspective. You may ask questions like 'when do you prefer to be updated?' and 'what can you hope to achieve for this project?' This can help you understand them better.

Related: Effective Communication with Your Manager (With Tips)

3. Set rules

Talking to your manager about the guidelines for each project may reassure them of your knowledge and capability to complete it on your own. Take advantage of two hours to express your understanding of the next project and ask questions that might seem impressionable. Remind them of your tasks and when you can expect to finish them, as this can demonstrate your planning skills. Setting these rules beforehand can eliminate the possibility of them micromanaging the team.

4. Give updates

Sometimes a micromanager can study employees' work to reassure themselves of the progress. Providing them with daily updates on certain projects can help them settle their anxieties. You can write a report, craft an email, provide documents and talk to them about it in person or in team meetings. Updating them when possible can build your trust with the manager and prevent them from micromanaging in the future.

Related: A Guide to Creating a Project Progress Report (With Tips)

5. Understand their motivation

Attempting to identify their motivation and what's important to them can help you follow their requirements. They might promote challenging goals to the team and wish to achieve these within a set period. If you understand their primary focus, it can boost your productivity and allow you to adapt to their long-term goals. Discussing their decisions can provide an honest environment regarding employee expectations.

Tips to improve your relationship with a micromanager

If you're wondering how to deal with a micromanager, one of the most helpful strategies is to work towards building a trusting and professional relationship. You can do so by following these tips:

Build trust

You might benefit from building trust in the workplace, especially with your manager. Complete your projects to the best standard and ask your manager for improvements, even if you think the project has covered all the requirements. Over time, you might find that your manager isn't evaluating everyone and can leave people to complete projects on their own accord. Building this trust may also open further opportunities in the company, especially for personal career growth.

Related: How to Build Trust in the Workplace (And Why It's Important)

Stay positive

Going to work with a positive attitude can show your manager that you're willing to complete projects no matter the circumstance. This can set a good impression straight away, which might relax your manager's fear of company failure. Use this positivity to motivate your team members and spread awareness about upcoming projects and requirements. If you keep other employees in the loop, they might show productivity, which can reassure the manager.

Related: Maintaining a Positive Attitude at Work: 10 Top Tips

Accept criticism

Your manager might approach you with feedback on how to improve your current work. Try to change this into a positive outlook and work harder to meet those company requirements. Negotiating with your manager about certain tactics can promote effective communication, especially if your manager feels comfortable approaching you next time. Note these improvements to enhance your work in the future and to show the manager that you value their feedback.

Think ahead

Planning your response ahead of time can prevent your manager from monitoring employees throughout the day. Changing your routine can show your manager that you're dedicated to the company and prefer to try new tasks. If you understand their actions and when they might react, you can plan your responses around that and notify other employees about your manager's behaviour. This may soon become a habit that restricts your manager from monitoring people up close.

Create personal goals

Documenting your personal goals can motivate you further and push you to exceed your own expectations. The manager might notice your development and how you're focusing on the long-term aspects. Giving yourself a chance to grow in your position can affect everything else around you, such as colleagues, business growth, professional relationships and productivity. A positive way to deal with a micromanager is to sit down with them and discuss these personal goals to remind them of your independence.

Related: 9 Personal Development Goals and How to Achieve Them

Steps to ensure a healthy work environment

Contributing to a positive work environment can also help deal with a micromanager. Changing your daily routine can help reinforce happiness in the workplace. Here are some useful tips to create a healthy work environment:

1. Prepare work in advance

Preparing your work before each shift can benefit how you perform in the workplace. If the manager sees your dedication to completing projects, they might leave you to it. This can also help develop your planning skills and allow you to research each project before you start. Gathering resources can prove useful when sharing these with the manager and working together.

2. Arrive earlier

It's often recommended to arrive early for shifts, but going to work 30 minutes earlier can give you plenty of time to prepare for the day. This might show the employer you're dedicated to working there and aim to increase your daily performance. Use this spare time to discuss potential meetings with your manager and if they request certain tasks for you to complete.

3. Update your manager frequently

Once you've arrived at work and prepared your documents, you can notify the manager about new updates or milestones on the project. Explain how you achieved certain goals throughout the process and why these might be important to the project's success. Updating your manager before they have the chance to ask can help prevent them from studying people's progress in the future, especially if they're confident with the daily updates. Keep these conversations minimal, with one important update each day.

4. Organise your schedule

Having your schedule in front of you whilst you work can remind you of your daily responsibilities. This might develop your time management skills, which may lead to the completion of important projects. Divide your time between each task and notify your manager of any problems, such as limited resources, tight deadlines and complex subjects. Staying honest with your manager can help them feel comfortable when discussing your ability to complete work.

Related: Top Organisational Skills for Your Resume and Workplace

5. Communicate with the team

Communicating with your colleagues can ensure they're knowledgeable about how to approach the manager with certain issues. They might need more tips on how to deal with a micromanager and why positive actions can be important. Working with your team can promote a healthy work environment that allows people to offer their opinions and ideas. A strong, dedicated team can remind your micromanager that you're willing to achieve future goals no matter what.


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