How to Handle a Boss Who Micromanages

It can be hard to know how to deal with a boss who has to manage everything down to the very finest details.

It's one of the most frustrating career experiences – a micromanaging boss. From leaving to-do lists on your desk to demanding to sign-off even the smallest of tasks, the micromanager can be a nightmare. It's hard to say anything to a superior, but there are ways you can tackle the situation.

When faced with a micromanager, you might start to doubt your ability to do your own job. Have faith in yourself, and cut them some slack too – micromanaging is a personality trait and it's difficult for people to change and accept how their minds are wired.

First thing you should do is anticipate what they want and deliver it without being asked. Micromanagers have a habit of constantly reminding you what needs to be done, so if you've already got the task out the way, they'll quickly realise you're on the ball and don't need so much nudging.

You should also be proactive in providing updates. Controlling bosses always want to be in the loop, but rather than wait for them to ask, offer up the information as a way of letting them know you're one step ahead.

Seeking out their feedback is another way to counter micromanagement. They were going to offer it anyway, so why not get in there first? This demonstrates that when you need feedback, you will ask for it. With any luck, they'll get the message that they don't need to provide a commentary on every task you undertake.

Getting cross and picking a fight isn't productive, but handle them with care and you can work with a micromanager.


Don't doubt your abilities
Anticipate their demands and get in first
Proactively provide updates
Seek out their feedback
Avoid confrontation