If you’re reading this you’ve probably got a micro-managing boss, you had one, or you secretly think you are one (if it’s the last one, get in touch, I can help). The last thing anyone needs is a micromanager.

They are in your business all the time, doing your work for you, constantly checking and asking questions. Telling you how to do it. Leaving you out of key conversations so people will have to go to them.

Or worse.
Let you do your work, then go “fix it” behind your back.

The Micromanager

My micromanaging boss? They micromanaged so much they took all the interesting work off me. I was a global supply chain process manager whose task was to co-develop and implement supply chain strategies across the world. I did that with their predecessor and I loved. my. job. I thought I was in heaven.

Get a new boss and after 4 months he came to speak with me. (seriously, no emails, phone calls, nothing until then).

This was the ONE thing he asked me to do: creating the KPI dashboard for the monthly review meetings. That’s it.
(I am so glad that I had a good network of colleagues who knew what I was capable of and trusted me with ore than that).

I don’t know which is worse: the meddlesome micromanager or the one who takes all your work away.

Having a micromanager boss leads to frustration. Complaining (you’ve got to let off steam, right?). Demotivation. Munching on cookies (ok, maybe that’s just me). Wasted time. Either free time twiddling fingers or extra work because of all the meddling.

It robs you of being able to contribute, show your talents, limits your career options – or destroys them completely.

Often we can think that the only solution is that they change. Or that you leave.

Suck it up or quit.

Not on my watch. I’m not going to let you stay in that dilemma. You have more choices.

The answer in a nutshell: Self-leadership.

Let me be clear: none of your choices involve your manager doing or changing anything. That is outside your circle of control. The ONLY thing you can control is YOU.

Self-leadership has so many options. Here’s one of many things you can do.

Get Curious

Ask yourself “why are they behaving that way?”
It could be incompetence, need for control, distrust or a whole host of other negative reasons.
You might rightly be thinking “what possible good reason could they have for behaving this way?”

That is exactly the question you need to ask: what good reason do they have?

Take 10 mins and actually reflect on it (leadership skill nr 34).

Let me save you some time.

From having been there myself, and what I’ve seen from my clients, the most common reason is this: They haven’t made the transition from “do-er of the operational tasks (i.e. your job) to “helping the do-ers to do their operational tasks (through leadership and management).

When you get curious about their reasons, this happens

  1. You’ll know it’s not about you, so it will be easier to not take it personally (big win. no more misery)
  2. It will help you connect with them as people, not just that a**hole boss” (so they might actually listen to any feedback you give)
  3. You’ll start to see ways that you can help them let you do your job
  4. Most Important! You’ll shift your focus from them (that you can’t change) to yourself and what you are doing. When you focus on you, good things will happen.

What are your strategies for dealing with a micromanaging boss?

This post is part of my special Coaching Tips Series. This series was inspired by my clients and the core themes in their challenges. When we can apply these tips, we bring a lot of ease into our lives and step into our leadership. Let’s connect.