How Should You Deal With a Micromanaging Boss?

June 27, 2023
Posted in Questions
June 27, 2023 Terkel

How Should You Deal With a Micromanaging Boss?

Dealing with a micromanaging boss can be challenging, but there are strategies to help you navigate this situation. We’ve gathered nine insightful tips from professionals, including Operations Managers and CEOs, on how to handle a micromanaging boss, ranging from listening and learning to communicating proactively and showing competence.

  • Listen and Learn From Your Boss
  • Maintain a Professional Attitude
  • Diplomatically Confront Your Boss
  • Set Specific Boundaries
  • Build Trust With Results
  • Lean Into Micromanagement
  • Understand Insecurities, Provide Details
  • Manage Expectations and Communicate Clearly
  • Communicate Proactively and Show Competence

Listen and Learn From Your Boss

When dealing with a micromanaging boss, I have managed the situation by listening and learning. By taking the time to listen and understand my manager’s needs, I could gain insight into their expectations.

By learning what drove their exceptional need for details and being aware of them, I have been able to expect potential pitfalls in project plans proactively before they occur, ‌preventing missed deadlines or objectives.

This approach has worked remarkably well in alleviating some of the stress that comes along with having a micromanaging boss while still allowing me to accomplish tasks at a high level of quality.

Carly HillCarly Hill
Operations Manager, Virtual Holiday Party

Maintain a Professional Attitude

Dealing with a micromanaging boss can be challenging, but it’s essential to maintain a professional and respectful attitude. One approach is to understand their expectations, communicate your progress clearly, and ask for feedback.

It’s also helpful to establish boundaries, such as setting clear deadlines and providing regular updates. It’s crucial to remain focused on the task at hand and not let their behavior affect your work.

Consider having a conversation with your boss or seeking advice from a mentor or HR department. Remember to stay positive and professional throughout the process.

Samuel FletcherSamuel Fletcher
Co-founder, SupplyGem

Diplomatically Confront Your Boss

One way to deal with a micromanaging boss is to diplomatically confront them about their behavior. A private and respectful conversation highlighting the positive contributions you make during which you draw attention to the micromanaging activities might help the situation.

You can also look for ways to give them control while enabling them to be more autonomous. Start by offering detailed updates on tasks you are working on and keep the lines of communication open.

When possible, provide visual evidence of your accomplishments. Be respectful but assertive and show ongoing progress and success.

Matthew RamirezMatthew Ramirez
CEO, Paraphrasing Tool

Set Specific Boundaries

Throughout our careers, we have mostly all come across different management styles. One way to deal with or handle a micromanaging boss is to set specific boundaries.

Are they calling you randomly all the time and pinging you nonstop to the point of distraction? Are you spending too much time on internal communication to get your work done?

Your boss is not the only one who can create boundaries. Speak up, ask to merge most of your communication for scheduled calls, and explain your reasoning.

Curtis AndersonCurtis Anderson
Co-founder and CEO, Nursa

Build Trust With Results

To handle a micromanaging boss, focus on building trust and winning their confidence by consistently delivering results and keeping them updated on work progress. Complete tasks efficiently, communicate proactively about project milestones and provide regular updates on accomplishments.

By demonstrating competence and reliability, you can show your boss that you can handle responsibilities independently, ‌reducing their need to micromanage. Establishing a track record of success will help build trust and encourage your boss to delegate more freely, fostering a healthier working relationship.

Richa SinghRicha Singh
Marketing Manager, SilverPeople

Lean Into Micromanagement

My inner perfectionist thought that “micromanaging” was normal at first. But it eventually made me (as well as my coworkers) feel uncomfortable. Instead of fighting back, I leaned into it. If he wanted to know every detail, I was going to share as much as possible.

I started asking highly detailed questions and tons of follow-up questions about everything, right down to nitpicky things like keystrokes and orders of operations. My goal was to become as annoying as possible and waste time on things that didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

It worked to an extent. I had fewer encounters with that boss daily, probably because he didn’t want to fall down a rabbit hole every time he spoke to me. I didn’t remain at that job for much longer, but I feel like I developed crucial people skills from that experience.

Alli HillAlli Hill
Founder and Director, Fleurish Freelance

Understand Insecurities, Provide Details

Micromanager bosses have one thing in common: they have an “insecure profile.” Therefore, the best way to deal with micromanagers is to understand their insecurities and give them all the information. In this way, they will have a sense of security.

They like details—so provide reports for them to feel like they’re a part of the whole since they usually cannot on their own merit. That’s how I dealt with one of my micromanager bosses. I succinctly clarified what he wanted to know and repeated it if necessary.

This made him happy, and I became a reliable resource for him. In addition, I would also recommend trying to understand the expectation of your micromanaging boss. Better, if you can understand in what format he would like things and when he wants a certain task or report to be delivered.

Jehanzaib AhmedJehanzaib Ahmed
Marketing Director,

Manage Expectations and Communicate Clearly

Micromanaging bosses can frustrate you, but it’s important to understand why they are micromanaging. Often, it’s because they lack trust in their team or have a fear of failure.

To deal with a micromanaging boss, communicate clearly and proactively, keeping them informed of your progress and any potential issues. Establish a clear set of expectations and deadlines to manage their expectations. Take initiative and show your competence by presenting your work and ideas confidently.

Build mutual trust by volunteering to take on more responsibilities or helping your boss in tasks they seem particularly focused on. If all else fails, it’s important to have a frank and respectful conversation with your boss to address the issue and find a solution.

Basana SahaBasana Saha
Founder, KidsCareIdeas

Communicate Proactively and Show Competence

Dealing with a micromanaging boss can be challenging, but there are strategies that can help navigate this situation effectively. One approach is to communicate proactively and establish clear expectations.

Schedule regular check-ins with your boss to discuss project goals, timelines, and progress. Provide detailed updates and show your competence and commitment to delivering high-quality work. By consistently keeping your boss informed, you can help build trust and ease their need for constant oversight.

Another strategy is to take initiative and work independently. Show your boss that you are proactive and capable of managing your own tasks and responsibilities. Take ownership of projects, make informed decisions, and provide solutions instead of constantly seeking approval or guidance. By showcasing your competence and self-reliance, you may gradually reduce your boss’s tendency to micromanage.

Sai BlackbyrnSai Blackbyrn
CEO, Coach Foundation

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