• Susan Hatcher

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.

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Updated: Apr 30, 2019

No matter how brilliant you, if you are an executive who can’t manage your emotions you shouldn’t be anywhere near your board, employees, stakeholders or customers. The good news is that 'emotional intelligence' can be learned but you have to work at it. If you can master the six rules to increasing your emotional intelligence you are more likely to have better relationships with the people that matter and be more likely to succeed at work and in your personal relationships.

Rule 1 - Reduce Negative Emotions

  • Stop Negative Personalisation

You could thinkg - 'My boss did not return my call because he’s ignoring me' or you could consider the possibility that she has been very busy and is waiting until she has the time to give you her full attention. When we avoid personalising other people’s behaviours we can perceive their expressions more objectively. Remember people do what they do because of them more than us.

  • Stop Fearing Rejection

'I am applying for that promotion and if I don’t get it I will be shattered'. Alternatively you could think if I don’t get this one I am likely to get another. You can manage your fear of rejection by preparing yourself with other options in situations so that no matter what happens you have an alternative for going forward.

Rule 2 - Stay Calm and Manage Stress

Your approach to managing stress can mean the difference between being reactive or being assertive. It can also mean the difference between looking stressed out or appearing composed. The secret is keeping your cool.

Here are two tips to keeping our cool:

Tip 1 – if you feel anxious or a bit nervous some fresh air and cool water on your face will do wonders and avoid stimulants such as caffeine.

Tip 2 – If you feel fearful or discouraged try some intense exercise such as running or cycling - remember ‘motion dictates emotion’.

Rule 3 - Express Difficult Emotions and Be Able to Assert Yourself - If Your Need To.

Setting appropriate boundaries is part of life and means that colleagues know where you stand. It’s perfectly acceptable to disagree (without) being disagreeable. It’s also acceptable to not feel guilty about saying 'no'.

When expressing your emotions try the ABC approach – I feel A when you do B in situation C.


I feel disappointed when you don’t follow through when you told me you would.

Rule 4 - Manage Difficult People - Don't Be Reactive, Be Proactive.

There are 3 tips for to stay in control when challenged by a difficult person.

Tip 1 – If you feel angry or upset with someone count to 10 before you say anything. Chances are you will have opted for a better way of communicating instead of complicating the issue by losing control.

Tip 2 – Try to put yourself in their shoes and empathise. Begin your reply with ‘It must not be easy….’

Tip 3 – Deflect a difficult person by identifying consequences to their behaviour. It will aid that person to move from a position of disrespect to respect.

Rule 5 - Bounce Back from Adversity

Practice resilience and choose how you respond in to life’s disappointments.

Remember: Winston Churchill, Nobel Prize-winner and two times elected UK Prime Minister wasn't always as well regarded as you might think. He failed sixth grade and was defeated in every election for public office until finally he became Prime Minister.

Rule 6 – Be Able to Express Intimate Emotions in Personal Relationships.

Make sure you don’t neglect the relationships that you have outside of your business or career. The ability to effectively express and validate tender, loving emotions is essential to maintaining close personal relationships.

Marriages, like careers, need constant nurturing... the secret of having it all is loving it all. - Joyce Brothers

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