How to Deal with a Micromanager

By Eroh K | Strong Female Leaders | Reading Time: 10 Minutes

Ever feel suffocated by someone at work? Whether the person is an organizational superior, mentor or teammate, her micromanagement can make you feel oppressed and powerless. However, you have more control over the situation than you think. Being micromanaged is no fun, but if you know how to handle a controlling personality, you can still find fulfillment at work. Learn how to deal with a micromanager by scrolling down.

1. Realize that it is not about you.
When you have been nit-picked to the bone, you may feel like you are being attacked personally. Despite what you may think--is she harrassing me? Is she threatened by me?--the reasons behind someone's tyrannical behavior most likely has nothing to do with you.
Perhaps she has misunderstood her responsibilities as a more senior team member? Perhaps she has been misguided with experiences with micromanagers in the past? Perhaps she has fallen victim to the organization's autocratic culture? Or perhaps she is simply insecure?
Whatever the deep-rooted cause may be, realizing that her conducts are not personal attacks puts your mind in a rational state. Now, with a calmer and clearer head, you've set yourself up for success in handling this sensitive personality.
2. Help her build confidence.
What makes her afraid, annoyed and angry? If you haven't yet, start noticing. Everyone has insecurities. Finding hers can be the key to dealing with her micromanaging ways. And when you do find them, help her shed those self-doubts and build her confidence.
If she feels inadequate, then give her the assurance that she is doing a solid job. If she feels unseen, then set up a 1:1 and really listen to her words and value her opinions. If she feels that her position is arbitrary, then let her know how valuable her skills are.
This may sound counter-intuitive: but the more control you give up, the more of it you gain. If you want a micromanager to loosen up, you would have to swallow your pride and help her ascend before you do.
3. Look for something to learn.
There are always opportunities to learn, even from a micromanager. Eventually, all the lessons-learned will serve you somehow. Be faithful that "this too shall pass," and meanwhile, keep your mind busy by looking for valuable lessons.

4. Micromanage yourself.
You are going to be micromanaged anyway. Why not get a few steps ahead and micromanage yourself? Before she gives you the most tedious tasks, grab them and let her know that you are already "on it." Before she asks for every single detail in your research, provide a full-on report that includes everything under the sun. Before sending her updates, frame it in an anticipating manner, like "I understand that you will ask for more information, so I have prepared the following scenarios and various possible solutions..."
Will she stop suffocating you? Of course not. She will probably find even more minute details to pick on. Being prepared for what will inevidably happen, however, alleviates tension within yourself. You can't expect the pressure to stop but at least you have loosened the noose a bit and given yourself small pockets of air to catch your breath.
5. Initiate self-improvement.
Another way to deal with a micromanager is to take the initiative to improve your shortcomings. Instead of waiting for her feedback, provide a list of your weaknesses and how you plan to improve each one. Put your ego aside and focus on making progress. Enjoy the journey and forget about the scrutiny. In the end, you have more to gain.
Parting thhoughts
Micromanagers are everywhere. Heck. You may have been one yourself. How you deal with them, however, can either turn a bad situation around or make it worse. If you want to feel valuable, happy and fulfilled at work, then you have to take matters into your own hands. You cannot change people; you have no right. You can, however, change your attitude and be creatively resolute.
Most likely, in ten years, this micromanager will no longer impact your day-to-days. For now, take the opportunity to learn how to deal with her. The more difficult personalities that you can handle, the better leader you become.
1) Find more ways to deal with micromanagers with Dealing with Highly Anxious People (Smart Tactics to Cope with These People in Your Life)

2) Shift your focus from people matters to what matters most with Fewer Things, Better: The Courage to Focus on What Matters Most

3) Pin this article!
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