How to Stop Your Boss From Micromanaging You
Do you feel like your boss is “micromanaging” you?
Do you want to receive more freedom, trust and autonomy from your manager?
In this article I share a simple strategy that gets you more freedom, trust and autonomy at work. My recent podcast interview with Mary Abbajay, author of Managing Up, inspired me to write this article for you. Before I describe Mary’s three principles and the strategy that you can start applying right now today, let’s start at the root:
Why is “micromanaging” happening in the first place?
This article is about Milo. Milo the Micromanager 🙂 Maybe yours is called Susan, Peter or Mathilda… it doesn’t matter, because essentially they are all human beings with the same basic human needs.
First of all, let’s forgive Milo for being a micromanager. Let go of any anger or frustration you may hold against him. Because Milo does not know any better. He is just doing his best. Fundamentally, micromanaging comes from a place of fear and worry. When you realize that in essence, micromanagement is a cry for help, you empower yourself to improve the situation.
Because micromanager Milo is simply afraid that something will go wrong and worries that a mistake has disastrous effects. That is not a fun place to be in. Judging Milo for it will not get you anywhere … instead ask: “what can I do to better the situation?”
Your first instinct (as mine) is probably to want to change Milo. The reality is, it is impossible to change a person (not even your spouse). People can only change themselves.
Mary Abbajay explains that when you are dealing with a micromanager like Milo, you have a CHOICE:
- Accept the situation how it is
- Change your own attitude or behaviour
- Leave the situation so you do not have to be around Milo anymore
Option 2 gives you the biggest increase in happiness the fastest. Let’s take back control of your happiness and autonomy at work right now. Let’s start managing your manager!
THE 3 GOLDEN PRINCIPLES
We learned from Mary Abbajay that these three things make Milo happy as a puppy 😊
Take a moment to think about it… it makes a lot of sense, right? This is all your manager really wants. Micromanaging and watching over your shoulder are just one way of getting information, feeling included and having a sense of control, isn’t it?
Do you want to break free from your micromanaging team leader?
Then let’s turn the tables 😊
- Provide the information before Milo can ask you for it.
- Include him or her in discussions faster than Milo can realize
- Show Milo everything he can possibly want to see (continuously)
Most blog articles would stop right here, but with Earn More Work Less we always go one step further and show the step-by-step to actually implement these principles in your unique personal situation. Because information I useless if you do not do anything with it.
The one simple strategy that I recommend to anyone who is being micromanaged is called: your Daily Status Update.
This is how you get started today:
First, grab your manager for a short talk… tell Milo: “I have been doing some homework to find the most efficient way for us to work together. I found this amazing blog called Earn More Work Less 😉 … and there I read a suggestion that really resonates with me. Would it make sense for you and me to do a small experiment with something I call my Daily Status Update? I can email you the first version today. Please let me know what you think and how I can make it even better.” (For more tips on how to have such a conversation with your manager, check our interview with Mary)
When you get back to your desk, set a reminder for yourself:
- Open your calendar and at the end of each working day schedule 15 minutes for your daily status update to your team leader.
- Every day, when it is time for this meeting with yourself, you write an email to him or her:
- Email subject: daily status update [date]
- A summary of what you achieved that day
- An overview of the questions you have for him
- An overview of the decisions you need him to take
- An overview of “hot topics” and other things he may want to know
- … and any additional category that you want to include
At first, you may think this takes an additional 15 minutes out of your day. But soon you will realize that THIS ACTUALLY SAVES YOU A LOT OF TIME. You will be interrupted less frequently and you will have less ad hoc work to deal with. After a while, Milo the micromanaging will no longer feel the need to micromanage you. His need for information, inclusion and control will be satisfied and he will focus his micromanagement endeavors on others.
Now that you read the entire article, only one question remains:
Are you ready to take ownership of the situation?
Take your first step today. Please let me know how it went by writing your comment below.
With Love and Enthusiasm,
Alexander Keehnen (the Stress-Free Manager)
P.S. Want to learn more about Mary Abbajay’s “Managing Up” strategies?