When your micromanaging boss is driving you crazy

And yet again you get an email from your boss in which she shoots bullet points at you, explaining in great detail how you should do your job. It contains more than just instructions: you get the message that your boss doesn’t think that you know how to do your job. You are not bulletproof - she makes you feel small and insignificant, angry and sad. A micromanaging boss can really drive you crazy.

I am a big freedom lover. I love to be challenged, to have big complicated assignments and in my own way conquer them and try to make them a big success. I like to use my creativity and show the world who I am. Whether or not I am right, I like to think of myself as a smart person who gets things done.

Micromanagement spoils this whole process for me, and is sure to drive me crazy.

Luckily there are strategies you can use if your boss is micromanaging you.

1. Try to understand how your boss thinks

It is always a good idea to figure out why your boss does what she does. You probably have seen her operate many times, so by now you could become an expert on her psyche. Why does she feel the need to pester you with detailed instructions?

It could be many things. Here are some ideas:

  • Your boss doesn’t trust you to get the job done.

  • Your boss feels insecure about her position and wants to show you who is in charge.

  • Your boss just has a clunky management style and thinks this is how it is done.

2. Don’t be emotional - be strategic

It is natural to be angry or frustrated with your micromanaging boss. Emotions are part of who we are, and I am very much in favour of acknowledging them and living in tune with them.

But be careful with emotions when dealing with your boss. Most of the time it is much more effective to operate in a strategic way. It is not easy to calm down when you are angry and upset, to swallow your pride and smile at your boss. But if you play it right, you will gain more freedom and make your life much better.

You figured out how your boss thinks. So act on it.

  • If you think your boss doesn’t trust you to get the job done, make her trust you. Reassure her you’ll get the job done. Stick to your promises.

  • If you think your boss feels insecure, recognise her authority. Show that your job is to help her. Make her feel important.

3. Educate your boss

This one is probably the most effective. Simply tell your boss that you don’t need detailed instructions. If your boss is like most people, she will need a few reminders. But if you keep repeating the message patiently, eventually she will get it.

Do you need more?

A micromanaging boss really can drive you crazy. Tips in a blog can be a good start, but if you really want to change something, you might consider coaching. Did you recognise yourself here? I coach people with difficult bosses and other work problems. Have a look at my website or get in touch for a free taster session?

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