How to Handle a Micromanaging boss

Employee Advice | PreviewMe | 11 December 2018


No matter what stage in your career you're in, chances are you have dealt with a micromanaging boss. These types of managers are not fun to work under and often negatively affect our work output.

If you are in this situation, don’t feel like it is the end of the world. There are steps you can take to show them you don’t need the constant supervision. The key to managing this issue is to remain calm, meet all deadlines and demonstrate your competency.


Take a look at yourself

While it might sound counter-intuitive if you are struggling with a micromanaging boss, if you are looking for ways to get out from under them, take a look at yourself first. There are two aspects you should look at. Firstly, how you are handling the workload, and secondly, how you appear to be handling the work.

While you may feel you are doing well by getting the work done and meeting all deadlines, to your manager, it may appear different. Take a hard look at your recent productivity, attitude and track record, because these could be signalling ‘help!’

Chances are your manager is only hovering over you because they are worried you aren’t coping. But the good thing is this can all be changed with a bit of effort and commitment.  


Anticipate and act

If your manager is constantly on your back, you may be able to anticipate when they may be about to check on you and your work. If this is the case, start anticipating and acting.

If your manager has a track record of reminding you about work you already know about, the best way to counter those messages is by completing them ahead of time. By doing this, hopefully, they will quickly learn that you are proactive and on top of your workload, showing them you do not need constant babysitting.


Proactively provide updates  

The problem with micromanagers is they just want to be in control. In most cases, they have come from your role, so they know the requirements and workload inside and out. That’s why they are constantly asking questions, seeking updates or butting in. But, because they no longer have direct control over the tasks, they feel left out, thus micromanaging is their way of staying involved.

Head this off by proactively keeping them updated on your progress. If you know they send an email asking for an update at 9:30 am every day, send them an update at 9 am every morning. This will help in a number of ways.

Firstly, it will give them a good understanding of your current workload, secondly, if you have any questions they will be able to answer them, and lastly, they will eventually realise that you are organised and detail-oriented, thus demonstrating that you don’t require constant monitoring.


Use your words

When it comes to the corporate world of hierarchies and chain of command, approaching your boss and confronting them may seem unwise. However, if you feel that it is getting too much, don’t hesitate to bring it up with them.

If you are going to bring up their micromanaging, it’s best to do it in the least confrontational manner possible. Whether you pull them aside one morning, go out for coffee or do it in a formal review, don’t be afraid to do it.

If you want, pose it like this: ask to take care of a project from start to finish on your own with a full review at the end. This will give you a short time to demonstrate your abilities and that you don’t need them looking over your shoulders. If you do a great job, chances are they will see that you are more than capable.


As you progress through your working career, you will experience a number of different managerial styles. Some you will like and thrive under, others you will loathe and clash with. If you find yourself in a position where your manager is micromanaging you, there are things you can do to. Don’t feel that you are stuck under them, because that is wasting your time and theirs.