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5 Maneuvers to Deal With a Micromanager

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It can be so frustrating to work alongside of a boss or colleague who always seems to be looking over our shoulder. Then when we complete our piece of a project they tear it apart and add their words and changes. Sometimes the edits are so hefty that we don’t even recognize our original document. These individuals live by the mantra: My way or no way. They can’t possibly accept our version of a solution and as a result often turn us off to working with them.

When a team leader or team member is a micromanager, results are frequently delayed. The back and forth of redoing until the end product reflects exactly what the micromanager wants, can deplete morale and flow. A collaborative effort should include our work and not just reflect what the micromanager deems essential.

Here are five leadership maneuvers to deal with a micromanager:

1. Trust Your Work

To face a micromanager leaders must first have belief in their own competence and value. When working on a project we must make sure the document is clear, accurate, data-driven and well written. Whatever we share it is a reflection on our skills and knowledge. Proofread several times before handing anything in. Be ready to explain your backup and decisions. Show pride in your contribution.

2. Assert Your Perspectives

When we are collaborating with someone who only sees worth in their work it can be difficult for leaders to stay clear on our focus. But unless we are able to present our case for completing the project in a particular way we will not be heard. To assert their perspectives leaders must:

  • Organize their work in an easy to read format.
  • Share their findings with clarity and backup.
  • Use a tone that is convincing and purposeful.
  • Speak with respect and warmth.

3. Listen To Learn

Leaders want the micromanager to listen to them so they must too model strategic listening. Our teams and individuals we collaborate with need to see that we are staying open to hearing what they have to say too. This is not about being bullied into changing up all of our work; it is learning about new possibilities that we may not have considered. Even if we are dealing with someone who loves to micromanage they may also have important information to share.

Related: 6 Shifts to Persuasive Leadership

4. Make Adjustments That Add Value

A team collaboration is not only one leader’s input but draws on the work of many. That doesn’t mean an entire project has to be redone but rather making adjustments to elevate the end result. For leaders to decide whether the additional information being offered by the micromanager is valuable they can ask themselves:

  • How does this improve the project outcome?
  • Is this data accurate or more about an opinion?
  • How can I use my own words to share this concept?
  • Would this take away from my direction and focus?

5. Promise Never To Be A Micromanager

Leaders recognize a micromanager and usually try to avoid working with one. So make a commitment not to become a micromanager. Be a leader who is open to colleagues bringing their perspectives and ideas to a project. Help everyone around you feel empowered to be their best by giving credence to alternative choices and suggestions. It doesn’t only have to be your way.

How have you dealt with a micromanager? What has worked for you?

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