31. How To handle A Micro-Managing Boss



How To handle A Micro-Managing Boss

Have you ever had a boss who felt like they were micro-managing you?


Micro-managing Boss

Hi. Welcome back. This is another video on a series of questions asked by leaders. And this is a question that's come up a number of times. And more noticeably when I've been encouraging sessions with team members or leaders that are struggling with a boss that they consider is micromanaging them.

Put up a mirror

So the sort of things that we discuss about strategies to help manage that situation is I always say, "the step you want to start with is put up the mirror and do a bit of reflection." So a bit of self reflection is are you contributing to the situation where your boss is micromanaging you because they are not confident in what you're delivering or the work you're putting forth. So if you can say, "No, I don't believe that's the case at all. I am delivering. I am consistent. I think it's just one of the things they're doing that is starting to frustrate me." So the other thing you need to understand about micromanaging leaders is it's generally a few triggers that lead to this. So one of them is a leader in the past might have had quite a broad trust model working, and somebody's let them down significantly and seriously in such a way it's undermining their confidence. So they're, they counter that by being overly controlling and overly managing. So putting yourself in their shoes, think about the things that might have impacted them. So that's one scenario. Another one could be, the reason they got to where they are is they cross the T's and dotted their I's. That could be their belief. So therefore, everybody that reports to them will also behave in exactly the same manner which isn't the best way to exercise the real value out of a team. There could be a whole other reason. So with that context let's talk about some of things that you might be able to do to help break down that barrier, and get more understanding of that micromanaging boss. So as I said, "A bit of self reflection goes a long way." If you're squeaky clean then fine.

Anticipate Needs and Wants

Move to the next step. Anticipate needs and wants. A manager just loves when a team member comes along one step ahead of the game, and having drafted up something for discussion; or having done some work that they weren't expected to do, but you did it anyhow for the right reasons. And that sort of builds that reliability trust component that the micromanaging boss might be looking for. So that's one thing. So there's lots of different ways you can do that. Anticipate your needs and wants.

Be Proactive

Next one is be proactive. It's don't wait to be told. When you see that this is core work of your role then actually get on and get it done. And make sure you understand their expectation around this. And we'll talk about that in a moment in more detail.

Set Up Meetings

Next thing is set up meetings. So if you want to get the stage in front of your leader to reinforce with them that you are doing your work and you're doing it effectively, you are professional, you've been trained for it; and you just need them to give you some rope to get out there and get the job done without them looking over your shoulder and telling you how.

Then what you need to do is before you meet with them send out an email with one, two or three bullet points of what you'd like to discuss and get clarity on because it reduces them feeling like they're being ambushed because controlling leaders who have a tendency to micromanage don't like being put on the spot. So a bullet point list beforehand then meeting with them helps bring that clarity. They feel less threatened. They know where you're coming from. So that works really well as well. 

Seek Regular Reviews

Seek regular reviews. You almost have to train the manager, in this case the micro-manager, to sit down together and say like, "OK. Over this week these are the things that we talked about getting done. This is what's been done. This is outstanding, and this is the reason why." Really build the confidence that you're on top of the work of the role. And you might have to actually sync that up. 

Now initially they might say it's not required on a weekly basis. Say, "Look. I really want to get really good at what I'm doing, and so I'd prefer to start on a weekly basis. And then once we build confidence together I'm happy to push that out, but would you humour me in this because I want to do my job right, and I want you to recognise that I am."

Reinforce You Are In Control

The next thing you might want to consider is look for opportunities to reinforce you're on top of this work. So when you have a situation arise, and you appraise the situation. If you see warning signs or concerns that should this happen or what if, bring that to they're attention, and say, "Look, in going about this work I noticed that for example we're about to do a refit in this area, but I've just discovered that civil bringing in a large crane and they're going to be demarcating that area the same, like a crossover period when we're actually going to be doing this refit. And that's going to be a clash. 

Is that something you're aware of or is that something that you want me to find out more information on." So look for different ways to think ahead of the game and reinforce that you are professional and you're on top of your game. And maybe that will help them realise they can back off and give you some space which is what you're ultimately after. So you might say, "Why am I having to do all this?" Well, it could be a lot of reasons, but I would suspect that one of the reasons is you haven't been given that clarity of role right at the start.

So, in a previous video we talked about this role clarity model that I've found very helpful. Well, we talked about sit down with the leader. We talked about what's the core work of the role. What things do they expect you to escalate to them to rubber stamp or review. Things that you would, he or she would negotiate with you on Just-in-Time. And things that you're OK, just go ahead and manage and I'll support you. This can be a really helpful tool to bring that level of clarity, so that they feel they have got control because they had that discussion. And that this clarity around what they need to have escalated which is usually their big concern.

So I wish you well on that. There are multiple different ways. This is just a way to help break down the barriers with a micromanaging boss. So I'll look forward to catching you on the next video.

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