Updated: Apr 30, 2019
If you’ve ever worked for a micromanager, you know how demoralising and couonterproductive it can be. This control freak refuses to delegate, may second-guess everything you do, and can shatter your confidence in your own abilities.Tasks that you could accomplish quickly if left to your own devices take twice as long.Your efforts may be
reduced to dust as the micromanager re-does your work. You may be tempted to resign, but you might like to first try some simple strategies to help you manage the micromanager.
Start by understanding what causes someone to act this way. Often it’s a need for control that stems from insecurity, lack of confidence, workplace instability and pressure to produce–both individually and as a team. Deep-seated psychological issues and problems at home can also influence the way people behave at work. Many of us have the propensity to be a micromanger, but some of us rein it in better than others. With this in mind, here are seven easy strategies you can adopt:
1. Identify Patterns. Micromanagers are reliably predictable. There will be times when you can predict that they they are likely to get agitated. If you know what triggers them you can anticipate their behaviour and put in place strategies to ease them.
2. Anticipate Needs. Once you know what sets them off, you can anticipate those stressors and put strategies in place to reduce them. Always have plenty of new projects ready and show that you are ahead of your game. This helps prevent them from slipping into micromanagement gear.
3. Develop Empathy. By showing that you understand what pressure they are under and that you are willing to share the load you will start to reduce their agitation. This might be offering to help them with a particular task that you know they are under pressure to complete.
4. Be Dependable. It’s much easier to manage a team where everyone meets work deadlines and committments on time. A micromanager loathes feeling that they are out of control. Strategise as a team what you can do to coordinate things in such a way that there’s no need for the micromanager to worry about how everything is running. Be on time for meetings and meet project deadlines.
5. Model the Behaviour. Model how you would like to be treated by the micromanager. Give them space and what ever you do don't micromanage back. Show them that your style works just as well.
6. Say Something - Tactfully. Micromanagers are often oblivious to the effect they are having on others. They believe that their managemanet style is producing a more productive workplace. Let them know how being micromanaged impacts you. For example tactfully tell them what it feels like to be mistrusted or second guessed.
7. Share Your Enlightenment. The more people you have working on neutralising their impulse to micromanage the better. You will not be the only person suffering and if you empathise with others and agree on a team strategy the easier it will be for all of you to manage the micromanager.