Micro-managers obsess over controlling every detail and can create a paralysing work atmosphere but it is possible to manage this behaviour in order to have a more positive outcome, possibly alleviating the added stress this kind of situation causes so that managers who micromanage don’t rob employees of the opportunity to exercise and develop their skills.

To implement the right strategies for dealing with a micro-manager you need to understand some of the issues. It’s also good to remember that the behaviour is their issue and not yours and that there may be other influences at play causing your superior to micro-manage.

Here are some suggestions for dealing with a micro-managing boss:

Look at your performance
Is there a possibility that there’s something you’re not doing correctly or have you dropped the ball on an important deadline or project? Lack of trust is a big issue for micro-managers so if there’s a chance that issues around your performance or commitments contribute towards this lack of trust – change it to ensure your manager sees you as reliable.

Get ahead of the updates
Rather than wait for your micro-manager to send follow up emails for progress updates, get ahead of these updates and communicate with your manager first.  Let him or she know what progress you’ve made on a particular project, communicate what you’ve accomplished and any obstacles or hurdles you’ve encountered along the way.  Chances are this will give your manager pause for thought and hopefully gain their trust and get them to back off the micro-managing.

Try to be Understanding
Consider whether there is pressure being pushed down from more critical superiors that your manager may be dealing with.  Let your manager know that you’re aware of the workload and show your commitment to go the extra mile to make the process smoother.  Your initiative and effort should be appreciated and perhaps give you a bit more space to work independently.

Communicate with your Manager
Pointing out all your micro-managers faults and action that frustrates you will not be constructive and may land you in a power struggle which will leave you worse off.  Rather find an opportune time when you can calmly let your manager know that you’d like a bit more autonomy when working but you’d like the opportunity to earn her trust as you understand the challenge of managing staff.  Propose that she allow you to complete a task with minimum agreed updates and then evaluates this performance.  Your manager may appreciate your initiative, possibly being unaware of their micro-managing style and give you some leeway.

There is, of course, the possibility, that all these efforts yield little or no results as your boss is unable to relinquish control. If that’s the case you may wish to deal with the issue through official channels with your HR department or simply find a way to cope.