What to do with a micro-manager

A micro-manager is the boss who gives you a job – and you’d swear you can feel his (her) breath on the back of your neck as he looks over your shoulder. There seems to be no trust whatsoever in your judgment, and since he’s monitoring and critiquing your every move, you wonder why he just doesn’t do it himself.

Micro-managers are horrible delegators. They appear to have a hard time trusting the judgment of others in even the simplest of things. The common misconception is that micro-managers are perfectionists with a clear ideas in their minds as to what they want and how things should be done. In actual fact, micro-managers are commonly quite unstructured in their approaches – relying heavily on their judgment and creativity to tweak and refine things as they goes along.

Their need to micro-manage is due to uncertainty as to whether or not others will be able to make the right decisions or take the right actions when they are required. It’s not uncommon that a micro-manager once had an employee in the past who was unable to perform a jobs without constant supervision, and he now thinks that this is the only way to get things done.

Here’s What To Do

The only effective way to work with micro-managers is give them the confidence that you are both ready and willing to do what it takes to do the job right. Here are four tips people have shared with me:

1. When they start telling you what to do, thank them, then confirm with them what you think all the next steps should be.

2. Keep reaffirming to them that you are committed to getting it right.

3. Keep them in the loop. Ask questions (even when you already know the answers). This reassures them that you are trying to work to their standards.

4. Don’t settle for anything less than perfection in the first few projects you do. Over time, they will begin to trust your judgment, and will be less inclined to look over your shoulder.

Good luck!

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