Is your boss a micro-manager?

Some people are naturally detail-oriented. Some get nervous when they don’t feel fully on top of things. Others just like to tell people what to do. There are lots of reasons a person can become a micro-manager.

So how can you cope with a boss who provides so much guidance and support that your productivity suffers? Here are some ideas.

Micro-managers need to know what’s going on, so provide plenty of information, even to the point where you think it’s overkill. Find out the sort of information your boss most needs in order to feel comfortable (action plans, analyses, examples, facts, figures, summaries …) and provide it.

Agree priorities so that, should your boss concentrate on trivia and unimportant details, you can keep your attention on vital, value-adding work. When you need to, explain that you plan to attend to the other work as soon as you’ve completed the high-priority work you’ve agreed.

Meet your deadlines. Keep your boss well informed as you reach each milestone on the way and what your next step is. Make sure that next step is one you can complete before your next update, so that your boss can see clear progress.

Of course, there are two good reasons a person becomes a micro-manager:

  1. the employee is new to a task and on a steep learning curve
  2. the employee is under-performing.

Ask yourself whether either applies to you and whether you’re the only one being micro-managed. When that isn’t the case, do everything you can to help your boss relax and feel confident that you’re both on the same page.