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How to Handle Your Micromanaging Boss

Although we should all be working to make ourselves indispensable at our jobs, what if you’re in a situation you just want to get out of? Gone (for now) are the days when a newer, better job was just a Craigslist search away, and the tough job market means tolerating more workplace annoyances than you might otherwise — like a micromanaging boss.

The issue: "Big picture" isn’t in your boss's vocabulary.
Your boss is constantly looking over your shoulder, giving you "helpful hints" on everything from how you organize your spreadsheets to how you phrase your emails. Although you’ve never given her a reason to doubt your reliability, she often asks if you’ve completed a task before you’ve even had a chance to start it. You’re feeling generally stifled, frustrated, and unproductive.

To find out how to deal,


First, make sure there isn't a legitimate problem with your work performance. Request a check-in with your boss to discuss how you're doing, and to clarify the objectives of any projects you’re working on. Once you’re sure that your performance is up to par and you're on the same page with your boss, you can more easily address her micromanaging.

Next, tactfully ask your boss to back off — by making it sound like it's for her sake. Say something like: "I notice we’ve both been spending a lot of time on [insert project or task here], and I know you have a lot on your plate right now. Why don’t I take the lead on this and see how far I can get, and then I’ll check back in with you?"

Finally, accept that you probably can't turn your boss totally laissez-faire, so you’re going to have to meet in the middle. If you know that she needs constant updates, take the initiative to arrange regularly scheduled check-ins. You’ll have more control over the frequency of these meetings and the degree to which your boss is involved in your daily tasks, and she’ll feel reassured that you’re committed to the project in question (and your job in general).

Photo courtesy of NBC

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