Manage a Micro-Managing Boss

Edited by Christine dela Cruz, Lynn, Eng, Alma

Imagine a day at work when your boss just continuously lurks around you to check if you are doing things correctly.

Christinedelacruz Boss 116.jpg

You have already mastered the job and have proven yourself with some great successes thus far, yet your boss still treats you that way. If you are experiencing this, then you definitely have a micro-managing boss. It does not really feel good to be micro-managed, so here are some tips how to understand and manage bosses who are like this.

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Why Bosses Turn to Micromanagement

The main reason why you are in your current position is because any organization cannot survive with only one employee. An organization is an interesting structure of complementing skills and talents. You were most likely hired because you have particular skills and talents to contribute that are beneficial to the company.

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Oftentimes, direct line managers have a say whether an employee will be hired or not. They vouch for an employee's good performance to defend their decision to hire. This then puts pressure on them to make sure that the employee really performs well. This pressure serves as the bud that starts the habit of micro-management.

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Overall, it may be important to assess what might be causing your boss to micromanage. Only when you have clear understanding of what exactly is going on are you able to manage it accordingly. In most cases, this style is not always ill-intended. When you get to understand what the real motives behind it are, it will be easier for you to deal with your boss and even change him eventually.

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These are commonly the other reasons why bosses think micromanagement is the right way:

  1. 1
    Lack of trust.
    If you are new in your position, it cannot be avoided that your boss may not have full trust in you yet. Your profile and experience may look good, and that's more or less the reason you got hired. However, that's not always a guarantee that you will perform the same way in your current company. Therefore, the trust and confidence is not there yet, so that's why your boss thinks watching and monitoring your work closely might be the best way.
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  2. 2
    Loss of trust.
    On the other hand, it may be that your boss used to trust you, but there were several instances in the past that you failed him and did not meet his expectations. He learned from his experience and that's why he's trying to change the way he manages you, so that you won't repeatedly fail him.
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  3. 3
    Challenging and extremely important tasks.
    It may not be your boss's natural style to micromanage, but if a task or project is extremely important to him personally, he may change his style. For example, the outcome of a certain project might lead to his promotion or demotion. If that's the case, for sure your boss would like to be in control of everything.
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  4. 4
    New tasks.
    If a task or a project is something new, not only to you, but to your boss as well, there is a high tendency that he would like to watch over the process as it happens.
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  5. 5
    Huge team.
    When a team is rather huge and the characteristics of each team member are diverse, a boss might feel a bit of discomfort in whether or not he will be able to control it accordingly. Therefore, what he might tend to do is spend some time on each of the parts to make sure he knows exactly what is going on.
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  6. 6
    Lack of transparency in communication.
    When communication between you and your boss is not good enough, in a way that he feels there is some information being omitted along the way, then he might want to just see things for himself as they happen. Therefore, the quality of your communication is very important if you'd like a bit of space from your boss. If you report things accurately and correctly, then that leaves no reason for your boss to continuously watch over your work.
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  7. 7
    Disorganized reporting system.
    Reports are there to reflect the status of your work. However, when details and information are messy and presented carelessly, that leaves your boss with no other choice but to just monitor you along the way to understand what exactly is going on. Messy reports also give him an indication that he cannot trust you because you are not polished in your work. It is a clear manifestation of unreliability and that does not help in building the trust that you need from your boss.
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How to Change the Micromanagement Style of Your Boss

  1. 1
    Uphold the highest of standards in each and every task that he assigns to you.
    Impress him all the time by turning in excellent work that is beyond his expectations. If you continuously do this, then that leaves not much reason for your boss to doubt if you can actually do the job.
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  2. 2
    Keep him involved in the process through regular updates on the status of your work.
    Schedule a time with your boss when you can both just talk about what's going on, and update him of both successes and failures along the way. Help your boss get used to a particular schedule of updating and make sure you yourself keep to that schedule. Once this habit is formed, he will likely veer away from unscheduled checks during the course of the work.
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  3. 3
    Be transparent in everything, even when there are problems.
    Make sure you volunteer all important information to him about the tasks or projects, even when it is something that is not in your favor. Bosses appreciate it when you are brave enough to admit that a problem is going on or that you are having difficulties. It shows him that you are honest and that removes any doubt that you might be withholding some information from him. If there's anything that bosses really hate, it is getting surprised by a huge problem when it's already too late to solve it. In other words, don't put him on the spot, especially when the mess is already too big for him to control.
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  4. 4
    Assume what kind of information your boss might need and inform him even before he asks.
    That gives him confidence that you are indeed in control and focused on your work.
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Questions and Answers

What are my boss's cicromanagement motives? Why does he insist on getting involved with all the details?

There are 3 things that usually make bosses turn to micromanagement as an option:

1. They do not trust you well enough because he has not yet come to fully understand your style at work and habits.

2. The task at hand is very important and he knows how serious the details are. It is part of his job to actually watch over all the details.

3. His job relies a lot on how successful the task will be. Therefore, he needs to be in control.


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Article Info

Categories : Business & Management

Recent edits by: Eng, Lynn, Christine dela Cruz

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