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5 Signs You’re Being Micromanaged

Published: Wednesday 27th May 2020

Nobody likes being micromanaged, yet many managers and bosses are guilty of excessively scrutinising work and constantly checking in. Not only this unfavourable management style is annoying, but it can also impede your career and professional growth. If you have a micromanaging boss, you may still be able to secure the autonomy you seek to advance your career. In fact, once you spot the signs of being micromanaged, you can tackle the problem by taking on an approach aimed to ease your micromanager’s stress.

So, here are 5 signs of micromanagement as well as some top tips to handle each situation.

You’re Micromanaged If Your Manager Avoids Delegation

Work Stress humor, woman wearing glasses being stressed at work

Micromanagers often think that no one else can or will do a decent job as efficiently as them. Driven by a nature of perfectionism they’re only confident that something is right when they do it themselves. However, although they may reap the benefits at first, it’s unlikely to last. The truth is, they will soon realise that with only 24 hours in a day and without assigning tasks to others, the quality of work will inevitably be rushed or of a lower standard. Furthermore, micromanagers tend to simply revise your work instead of offering constructive feedback to help you improve it.

Solution: One way to handle this situation is by trying the multiple-choice strategy when offering to help. Instead of asking the question “How can I help”, you should get very specific in terms of the task and how you can help them. Moreover, if your manager is a perfectionist or worry that the task will take longer to explain than do it themselves, approach them with a thorough plan. By doing some initial work first, you demonstrate, you already have a good understanding while showing motivation and initiative. In turn, this should help your manager realise they can count on you. Finally, you have to sell the benefit! Explain to your boss, how delegating this task to you, will free them up to do another, more important task, proving their worth to the higher ups.

Two businessmen talking, employee talking too manager at work

Your Manager Does Not Let You Make Any Decisions

If you feel like you’re not allowed to make any decisions or you’ve got to ask permission for everything, you’re probably  micromanaged. While it’s natural to get final approval for your projects, you should be able to make decisions along the process of completing your work. After all, you should be able to bring your expertise to your work.

Solution: First of all, don’t allow someone’s negativity to create self-doubt of your abilities. Despite it being hugely draining, don’t let it get to your head. If you work as part of a team, go with whatever your team is saying. If you don’t, then your best chance is to slowly build trust with your boss. You can achieve so by completing all the small tasks they request, be reliable and meet all deadlines.

Your Manager Complains Constantly

A manager who doesn’t trust their staff is always going to look for evidence in order to validate their paranoia. Funnily, if mistakes are all you look for, then they’re all you’re going to find. If you’re micromanaged in such a way then this type of manager will find fault in anything, no matter how inconsequential. And although they may justify this, professing they’re pushing for excellence, in reality they’re only draining their team’s motivation.

Businessman stressed and overworked yelling in office

Solution: Make upfront agreements. Talk to your boss before a project starts to get their guidance on the results their expecting and how they want to be involved. Make sure to take thorough notes and agree on standards and basic approach. Explain what you think the ideal plan of action is and then ask for her input. In addition, keep your boss in the loop, bearing in mind that anxiety is one of the micromanagement drivers. Most importantly, if you have questions or need clarification, don’t leave it to the last minute. Finally, provide regular updates, informing them on your progress.

Lack Of Feedback Is A Sign Of Micromanagement

A normal manager-to-employee relationship will likely have feedback flowing in both ways. However, a micromanager will be more interested in a one-way conversation. Due to extensive exposure to enormous pressure and stress, micromanagers tend to be more explosive and irritable when they face criticism. Consequently, they ignore their own weaknesses and have no interest in what they can do to improve; they only look for the weakness in others.

Solution: Even if it’s undeserved, try tackling this situation using gratitude. Start by thanking them for being “excellent leaders” and “a great boss ever.” Rather than telling your manager point-blank, you think they’re doing something wrong, approach them privately. Schedule some time for a chat that is most convenient to them. Prepare yourself beforehand by making notes to convey only the issues you think are truly critical and give examples. Most importantly – and we cannot stress this enough – stick to the script. Remember, this is not a free pass to unload on your boss! Keep it classy, professional, and kind. You could also try a feedback solution, which allows you to anonymously communicate to your manager that their way of handling things isn’t helpful.

Feedback word concept on post-it note, business review desk computer keyboard

Projects May Drag On Forever

Since your boss seems to be the only one who can make any decisions, get any work done, or even decide what the work is, their incredibly-busy schedule will set the pace for everything there is to do. Micromanagers tend to delay project completion while everyone awaits their approval. The revision process can also extend far beyond the initial plan.

Solution: Apply solution number one and number three! Sell the benefit. Explain to your boss, how delegating and completing tasks, will free them up to do other, more important task, impressing and proving their worth to the higher ups. Discuss and make upfront agreements while providing them with regular and detailed updates.

If the above signs ring true for you, you are likely micromanaged. You can certainly try to handle a micromanager by applying these proactive solutions, that we have outlined. Nevertheless, if these don’t work, then you may have to consider whether it’s time for a new job. At the end of the day if you constantly feel like you can’t grow personally or professionally within your role, perhaps it’s best to seek your growth elsewhere. If you are ready to take the next step and on the look out for your next career opportunity, register on Zoek and let the job find you!

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