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  • Writer's pictureKristen Herring-Asleson


It sucks. There is no kinder, less blunt way to put it! Micromanagers do little other than upset employees, reduce morale and create turnover!

The topic of this column came at the request of not one, but two readers this week. One of these women shared her stories firsthand and the other texted me an emoji of a face with tears, saying, “Help, how do I handle a micromanager?”

If you have never dealt with a micromanager, you are lucky. If you don’t know what one is, consider yourself rare! By definition, a micromanager is a boss or manager who gives excessive supervision to employees. Rather than telling an employee what task needs to be done and by when, they will practically breathe down the employee’s neck, watching closely and offering little in terms of guidance. Usually, comments consist of criticism over how the work is being done or handled.

Micromanagers often want results produced with a quick turnaround, which often leads to the work being redone by themselves or simultaneously being completed while the employee does the exact same thing. Unfortunately, micromanagers do little other than upset employees, reduce morale and create turnover. One can handle a micromanager for only so long before you throw your hands in the air and just leave.

That last note about leaving stems from personal experience. One morning, after months of micromanaging, I dropped the office keys in my boss’ hands and said, “I’m done, I cannot do this any longer.” I recall the sigh of relief that escaped me as I cleared the entry door. A week or so later I was summoned to small claims court as he did not like that a proper notice was not given, and he felt I owed him two weeks wages. My dad dressed as my lawyer, I arrived in a business suit, and the judge stared him down, smirked and thanked him for wasting his time.

Back to micromanaging . . . if you aren’t in a position to look for alternative employment, or you actually love the company you work for, just not your boss, there a few ways one can survive micromanagement. It isn’t easy, but it is doable.

First and foremost, recognize that your work life will be stressful while working for a micromanager. Their need for control makes them obsess over every little thing you do or try to do. The hovering will drive you crazy and some days your eyes will burn with tears. It is unavoidable.

Before these tips are shared, you must begin by looking at yourself and be honest about your work performance. Some micromanaging is a result of loss of trust. Are you getting to work on time? Is your completed work the best you can produce? Are your tasks done on time when requested? If you answered yes to all these, then here are the tips that may help you cope.

Beat your boss to the punch! If your boss is asking for updates, sending emails asking where you are with a project or constantly checking in, then get to it first! Send him an update every so often so he doesn’t have to bother you. Let your boss know what you have accomplished, what you are working on and when it will be finished.

Let your boss know how you feel. This is one of those “put yourself in their shoes” suggestions. Is there an unknown reason for this behavior? Explain in a calm, humble manner how his behavior affects you. Challenging his authority would not help but discussing may. Maybe your logic will be heard.

For some, the only escape to this style of management is quitting, because there will never be a change no matter how well you perform. But certainly, look within and at other job options before throwing in the towel.

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