People quit their job for various reasons, they may be looking to get better salaries, achieve career progression, or acquire some new skills. They are also inclined to leave a job for lack of career progression, poor corporate culture, long commute, difficult bosses, lack of management recognition of employees’ performance, boring and unchallenging work itself amongst others. According to a recent article published on the society for human resource management website, career development, work/life balance, and bad managers consistently ranked as the top issues that push employees to job hop. Of all the reasons why people quit their jobs, I believe managing a difficult boss is one issue that can easily be handled. However, to achieve this, the parties involved must be willing to learn how to work together to deliver on organizational objectives, engage in a productive dialogue on how to accomplish the goals, and understand that at the end of the day, they are together in the same team working for a common goal.
People that work with difficult bosses experience more stress at work, and they often feel less confident of themselves, making them lose their motivation for work. Difficult bosses are commonly referred to as “micromanaging managers” in today’s corporate environment. Micromanaging is an act of controlling all aspects of an employee’s daily tasks, it is about informing your employees what to do, how to do it, and when to complete their tasks. The micromanaging manager creates a toxic environment where people are driven and coerced to produce results. They undermine, demotivates, & demoralize their employees. Micromanagers not only care about getting stuff done, but they are also obsessive about how it is done. Employees, on the other hand, want to be trusted, and they need autonomy at work in order to thrive and perform at their best.
There is a popular saying that people don’t quit a job, they quit a boss. So how can we ensure that bosses and their subordinates co-exist in a productive and corporative environment? What do organizations need to do to ensure that managers stop micromanaging their employees so that they can foster a healthier work environment and retain more talents? I believe that the 21st-century organization must develop capable leaders that understand that fostering good human relationship is as essential as delivering results to the company. Every organization needs leaders that are coaches. A leader as a coach will not only ensure that organizational goals are met, he also works to make sure that his employees are motivated, trusted, and empowered to make decisions, creating a supportive environment as well as a collaborative relationship with the employees. The leader coach is able to sell a vision and motivate his team to perform, naturally, without any form of threats or force.
Obviously, developing leaders cost a lot of money, and most organization today are mostly interested in the bottom line. They are driven mainly by the profits they can make, and less about the number of talents they can retain. The constant pressure to save cost and make money has shifted the responsibility of developing leadership from organizations directly to their employees. It lies on you the employee to manage a micromanaging boss. In my experience as a career coach, and from interacting with people who have had to work with a micromanaging boss, I realized that there are ways to manage and work with these people and remain productive and happy. The following are my recommendations for managing a micromanaging boss:

1. Over-communicate: Communication is essential in every relationship, and indeed, any organization that must excel needs to maintain direct and regular communication with its employees. Your micromanaging manager does so because he does not want to be out of the loop with your progress on your assigned tasks. What if you flip the coin by over communicating and letting him be aware of your progress on all your tasks each step of the way. This may be an extra burden on you, but if you open the communication channel and you provide all required information to your manager right from the beginning of your task, then you are putting him in a position to sift through all the trove of information that you have given him. By doing this, you are eliminating the potential conflict that could arise if your manager constantly needs to come to you to ask for updates on your assigned tasks.

2Manage Expectations:  Conflicts in most relationship arise because of unmet expectations. Your micromanaging manager probably has some expectations from you that you might not have met in the past, and as a result, he feels that he must monitor you more often to avoid any future disappointment. The proper way to discourage him from micromanaging you is to agree on all expectations at the beginning of every task and try to establish plans on the approach to execute your tasks, as well as to have a discussion on the expected outcome of your projects. You should endeavor to explain and let him understand the timelines, plan of actions, your strategies, and then request his input into the plans. To make life easy, make sure you get him to focus on the vital components that will aid your work, and not on the minor issues that tend to distract and waste time. For example, if you are working on a sales campaign for your company, it’s okay for you and your boss to agree on the appropriate sales strategies. However, it should be your responsibility to deliver based on the plans, he does not need to check up with you and tell you when and how to proceed further.

3. Build Trust: Have you betrayed your boss’ trust in the past? If this is the case, then you need to reconnect and find a way to rebuild the trust. One of the main reasons why your micromanaging boss micromanages you is because of the lack of trust that you will deliver on your tasks as at when due to meet expected requirements and schedule. Trust is an essential element in every relationship. No two people can work effectively together if they don’t trust each other. You need to win your boss’s trust, and you need to help him to build confidence in your ability to deliver results. By getting your boss to trust you, he will be able to back off and let you handle your work as long as you are performing your work in the agreed way.

4. Show result: Micromanagers monitor work so strictly because they are absolutely convinced that you may lose track or stop working if they stop directing everything you do. At the end of the day, you and your manager are most likely working to achieve the same objective, you may have a different opinion on how to get there though. If you can show your manager that you are a result oriented individual, that you get stuff done, you will be eliminating the need for him to micromanage your work. For example, if you are assigned a new project, and your manager starts getting in your way, you can discuss your track record with him, you can let him know that you have handled similar projects in the past and that you completed it successfully. He needs assurance that you can take control and complete your tasks successfully, by showing him results, you will be helping him to have that peace of mind that there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

5. Know your boss: Why does he micromanage you? Is he insecure or simply inexperienced? You will need to step up and help him to understand the work scope and explain clearly your plans to deliver results. Is he a control freak who is obsessed with every detail of what and how of your work? Let him understand that he is still in control and that he is only empowering you to do the job, while he can relax for updates later. Has anyone in your team disappointed him in the past by not meeting the deadline? Here you need to let him know that you are different, that you are a result driven individual, and that you are committed and can complete your tasks successfully. Is he a high performer who has a pre-determined way of doing things? You can let him know that perhaps, there are other approaches to getting the same results. Or the reason why he micromanages you is that he does not have much going for him? Then, keep him busy by providing detailed tasks updates to him, you may also be able to get him to busy by giving him some tasks to work on. No matter, the situation, you should be self-aware, you should talk to him, and get to know him and find out what exactly he really wants.

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