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Ask L2: When a Micromanager Won’t Change

“All the typical feedback to give more information or change styles just results in MORE back and forth and questions, not less.”



Disclaimer: Identities are kept confidential. The advice given here should be taken at your own risk. If you are having true mental or physical issues, please seek professional assistance.


How do you handle a micromanager who knows they micromanage, is sensitive about it, and explains it as a feature, not a bug? All the typical feedback to give more information or change styles just results in MORE back and forth and questions, not less. It’s an org-wide problem that everyone knows about.



 

If it’s an org-wide problem and everyone knows it, I’m not sure that it’s a problem that’s going to be fixed. It’s one thing if you are working with someone who is coachable and amenable to change without realizing that they are micromanaging. It sounds like this person is not only self-aware but acutely in tune to the fact that they do this very frustrating thing, and I’m not getting a sense they’re interested in changing it.


If you don’t work well in that environment, then it might not be an environment for you. If you want to stay with the company, maybe there is another department you can work in that will give you less unnecessary supervision. If not and you want to survive in this department, then you might have to make a serious effort to divorce yourself from, well, caring. That’s hard when you’re a person who takes pride in your work.


If this is a well-known issue, then the person isn’t micromanaging you as much as they’re micromanaging everyone. That might be a good frame of reference to use when you’re choosing how to respond to the pressure and stress of that environment.


You can also try to stay one step ahead, though that’s a lot of extra work that you’re not getting paid for. You can try sending recaps in the morning of what you plan to work on and recaps at the end of the shift of what you got done. Over communicate so there is no question as to what you’re doing and why, and maybe that will create some confidence that you’re doing what you need to do without being asked.


That being said, if it is an established problem - then the key to survival is more likely to be the decision not to have an emotional response to the requests, rather than expecting anything to change.


L2



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