Today’s Question: How do I deal with my new manager who micromanages everything that I am doing?
We have all dealt with a manager who has micromanaged us to some extent. There are usually a few reasons why this occurs. The manager may be new to the team, hasn’t managed a team before, doesn’t trust the team yet or is a bit of a control freak. Unfortunately this causes issues with morale and employee engagement. It also creates so much frustration for the manager and the employee.
So what should you do if you are the employee and this is happening to you? Have a conversation with the manager about how you could best work together. Ask questions about their management style and their previous roles. Look for clues during the conversation that may help you understand what is driving the controlling behavior. Proactively communicate what you are doing and send weekly status reports. Assure them that you want to support them and make them successful in their new role. Get input from others who have reported to the leader in the past if you can. This may give you some additional insight as to how they were able to manage the situation. Hopefully the micromanaging will lessen as you build trust and deliver on your objectives. If not, then you need to have a direct, but respectful conversation about how it is impacting your ability to do your work effectively.
What do you do if you are the micromanaging leader? Ask yourself what is driving this behavior. Did you give trust to someone along the way and they let you down? Did you learn this behavior from a manager who did the same thing to you? You cannot be a successful leader as you climb the ladder by micromanaging. There is too much to accomplish and you need to trust your team to get it done. You will obviously oversee them and support their efforts, but you don’t have to know every little detail about what they are doing. There are some key things that you can do when you delegate to your team to ensure that things will get done. Focus on setting expectations, discussing the outcome, selecting the due dates and creating check in points along the way. Notice that telling them exactly how to do it is not part of the conversation. They need to understand what to deliver and let them figure out the best way to do it.
Building trust between a manager and a team takes time. Talk about your style and what your expectations are with the team as soon as you take over the group. If you have had micromanaging issues before, tell them that this is something you are working on and you would appreciate their feedback when they see you doing it. This will allow for a conversation on both sides on how to work more effectively together. Empower your team to accomplish great things and put your focus on leading them.