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How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
My job is great - I'm involved in projects, my opionion is sought out, I have much responsibility, I've even heard through the grapevine that the boss holds me in high regard.

The big problem is the micromanaging. The boss comes by 5-6 times a day, sometimes within an hour of each visit, asking the same questions. The boss is knee deep in management consoles, constantly telling us how to tune systems, document the environment. All the while the boss has hands in each of these, doing the work that we should be doing. Holding IT back from getting stuff done.

This one characterisitic is driving me away from here; and I've only been here nine months!

Does anyone have any advice on how I should deal with this? Do I want to leave, no, unless the micromanaging doesn't stop.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

>All the while the boss has hands in each of these, doing the work that we should be doing

Um - this is not micromanagement ...

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
I think it is a part of it. The boss' rationale is that "we don't know his way so the boss has to do the work".

The boss should know what is going on, not constantly asking his subordinates where things are at.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

From here, it looks like the boss is not real happy with how you are doing your job, and you haven't learned what he's been trying to teach you, so he's doing the job for you. ... for now. ... until he finds a replacement or you start doing the job exactly how he wants it done.

Of course I could be completely wrong, but this would be a good time to review your interactions with the boss, and consider the possibility that you may have misinterpreted what was said or what you heard.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
Thanks for the input.

The boss is actually doing what I described above to everyone he manages.

I think I am doing a good job because:

- my boss has told me I am dependable and his "go to guy".
- Others in and out of the company have told me my boss holds me in high regard and that he does not want to lose me.


Having his hands in everything that's going on drives me crazy.
Being told the same thing five times drives me crazy. Even if I say I understand, or any other social queue, he blows right past it.
I don't know what else to add without repeating myself.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Isn’t this a case of ‘if you want to have it done right you have to do it yourself’? And by ‘right’ I mean ‘the way I would do it. Any other way is not the way to do it’ approach.

Have fun.

---- Andy

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
Yeah, I suppose it is.

The responses are starting to make me doubt myself. IS he a micromanager from what I have written?

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager


Here is one definition of :

Quote (web site)

[...]Micromanagers [...] dictate exactly how to do the work and watch over every step in the process, refusing to truly delegate any decisions—and, in the process, lower morale and productivity

from how to deal with a micromanaging boss

Have fun.

---- Andy

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

I've come across two flavors of micromanagers (although I'm sure there are more) - those that don't trust you to do the job, and those that try to be overly helpful. Either type of micromanager are a pain to work with but I've found that a talk and some simple workflow changes make things a lot better, of course that depends on if the manager and you will make an effort to change.

--> I've even heard through the grapevine that the boss holds me in high regard.

It sounds like your boss trusts you but he might be too helpful. Have a private meeting with him and let him know your frustrations and together workout ways you can change your work habits so you can both be happy.

--> The boss comes by 5-6 times a day, sometimes within an hour of each visit, asking the same questions.

After your boss stops by to ask questions, send him an email with your answers so he can refer to the email if he needs the answers again. It may take time for him to get into a routine of checking his emails before running to your office to ask the same questions but eventually it should lessen his visits.

--> The boss is knee deep in management consoles, constantly telling us how to tune systems...

Get access to whatever management console (or a better one) he is using and become proficient in it so you have the same monitoring information as your boss. When he walks into your office to give you tuning advice you can either say you're already on top of it or, if he is wrong, what the correct "tuning" would be.

Alternatively you could invest in a cattle prod...


Stubnski

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
Thanks!

I think another talk with him might be a good idea. Problem is, how do you tell someone they are micromanaging you to death?

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

"Confessions of a Micromanager" by me. Hello, my name is Goombawaho and I am a control freak. Let's open this meeting of Control Freaks Anonymous. Yes, it's sort of a disease, control freak or micromanager, whatever you want to say. You have to realize that is comes as easily as breathing to folks like us. We hover over all our jobs/projects/tasks like mother birds around the baby birds, feeding each one carefully. We do things best when working on our own because nobody else can "screw up" our perfect work or timing or schedule.

We are bad bosses not because we are mean or incompetent or other common complaints, but because we know the only person that can really do things right is us and so we have to watch our employees like hawks to make sure that they aren't secretly screwing things up. We have to make sure they are doing things just as we would do them.

You are doomed in the sense that the boss WILL NOT CHANGE because he is a control freak and we never give up or let up. See the following common characteristics of a control freak which bleed over into micro management.

*Described by most people as picky and critical, as well as controlling.
*Loves order and established routines. Don't even think about touching things on his or her desk. Watch out if his or her plans have to be rearranged.
*Always needs to be right.
*Tells you who you are and what you think.
*Implies that you're wrong or inadequate when you don't agree.
*Feels attacked when questioned.
*Doesn't seem to really see or hear you.
*Would rather give orders than take them.
*Hangs onto a project forever because he or she wants it to be perfect.
*His or her controlling ways make other people feel anxious, if not alienated.
*Snoops around where he or she doesn't belong.
*Feels most comfortable when in charge.
*Winning an argument is more important than finding the best solution.
*Not getting what he or she wants is met with anger, pouting or the silent treatment.

You will need to adapt to the boss or leave. I wouldn't try to CHANGE him as you will meet with fierce resistance. I am totally serious.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
I agree - my boiss does most of those things that you mention. The project manager even told me that my boss is doing one of his subordiantes work for him because "he doesn't do it right".

I am looking for another job.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Quote (maybeimaleo)

The project manager even told me that my boss is doing one of his subordiantes work for him because "he doesn't do it right".

I am looking for another job.

The problem is that most micromanagers do not see themselves as such. I've worked for the driven, Type-A personality kind of micromanager, and it's no picnic. One manager I had pretty much designed the program for me, right down to the variable names she wanted me to use(!). When she went on maternity leave, her boss filled in (fortunately, he was an easygoing guy with whom I got along very nicely, and let me do my own thing).

Keep looking, and good luck. And remember this if you ever get to be a manager yourself: Trust your subordinates. They are professionals, just like you. Look at results, not process.

-- Francis
Francisus ego, sed non sum papa.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
Sadly the job I left to come here was headed by a micro-manager. This guy would go so far as to read the pages people sent to one another!
Yes, they still used text pagers. We had a website where we could choose the person we wanted to send a text message and a field where we could enter the message. While everyone could read every page (who would want to) the Director read them all every few days.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

That list of behaviors/characteristics I found on the internet when Googling "control freak". It fits my mother exactly. I'm sorry that my comment has led you to decide that you have to go somewhere else. After you leave, you should tell your boss in a nice way that he is impossible to work for and maybe even point him to this thread. I may be a control freak but at least I know I am. Others don't know that they are and the damage they do to others, but some know and don't care. Point being, he MIGHT change if he absorbs the bad feelings he causes.

Quote:

Trust your subordinates. They are professionals, just like you.
Errr, some percentage of them are, some are not, some are incompetent, some are absent-minded professors. And that's NOT the control freak in me talking. The other thread "Find out my 'teammate' is taking off for 10 days 5 hours before he leaves." shows how bad some "subordinates" can be. Your mileage may very.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Quote:

Thanks!

I think another talk with him might be a good idea. Problem is, how do you tell someone they are micromanaging you to death?

You tell them in a direct manner. Do not be angry or confrontational. Be calm and state exactly what is bothering you. One thing you don't want to do is threaten to leave. You may get fired for that.

I have had two managers in my career who were like this. One I was able to gently get him to stop micro managing and trust what I was doing. I left that employment but for a different reason than the manager. The other one told be to get lost. I got a different job.

I don't know if either one of these people were a perfectionist. One had a car that had rarely seen a car wash and the other had the messiest office I had ever seen. Maybe one can be a perfectionist at work and not in other areas of life.

Good luck,

Tom

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Quote (tcsbiz)

I don't know if either one of these people were a perfectionist. One had a car that had rarely seen a car wash and the other had the messiest office I had ever seen. Maybe one can be a perfectionist at work and not in other areas of life.

It's definitely a possibility. My office is a mess, and my car is seldom washed, but when it comes to my work, I tend to be a perfectionist. I'm very hard on myself when it comes to things I create, and similarly when I play games or sports. (Which is especially tragic because I have almost no athletic ability.) However, for the things that I somehow deem less important (such as organizing my desk or washing my car), I don't stress about it at all. I think it has to do with what I personally feel each activity says about me as a person. I'm ok with being considered messy, but I cringe at the idea that my program might work improperly and cause somebody else difficulty.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
I think someone has to tell him what is going on because I have found out that everyone under his direction feels the same way that I do.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Quote (Me)

Trust your subordinates. They are professionals, just like you.

Quote (goombawaho)


Errr, some percentage of them are, some are not, some are incompetent, some are absent-minded professors. And that's NOT the control freak in me talking. The other thread "Find out my 'teammate' is taking off for 10 days 5 hours before he leaves." shows how bad some "subordinates" can be. Your mileage may very.

Never meant to imply that incompetent/lazy/insubordinate colleagues get a free pass. However, having been in the business world for 35 or so years, I can tell you that trust is the key to building up a worker's confidence, and, by extension, their productivity.

Micromangement shows a lack of trust, and, in my opinion, leads to failing results.

-- Francis
Francisus ego, sed non sum papa.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

To illustrate:

-- Francis
Francisus ego, sed non sum papa.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Quote:

I think someone has to tell him what is going on because I have found out that everyone under his direction feels the same way that I do.
OUCH. If you tell the boss about the micro-managing, prepare for anything. He might accept it nicely, he might be secretly extremely angry and get even with you and he might just froggin' go off on you like a tirade. When people are confronted a la intervention style, they can get pretty squirrely because it's their way of life you are threatening. It's not just a personality quirk, it's a way of life. Can't live without booze, can't live without speed, can't live without MICRO-MANAGING.

Again, I am totally serious. Any time anyone tells me I can't do something I try in every way to go against them. Sorry to say, but it's the way I'm wired. They are challenging you and you must overcome their assault. That's why I post on here because I want to be right.

I know I've said a lot of things about my personality, but you can be happy to know that I know how I am and I work alone so it minimizes all conflicts.

If you go it alone (talking to him) there is more danger in you getting fired but if a group does it, it would be extremely threatening for someone like that.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
I agree that if the group talked to him that would be bad. The project manager was thinking of talking to him in a 'i've-heard-through-the-grapevine' type of stuff.

I am hoping an interview comes together with a place of my dreams. It would be a nice way to styate why I am leaving without getting into an argument with my boss (which might happen regardless of what I say in a resignation letter).

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

I just want to throw something here, but I have no idea if that’s the way to go.
Does your boss have anybody above him? If so, would ‘going over his head’ be the way to go? What if HIS supervisor would talk to him about his micromanaging ‘problem’?

Have fun.

---- Andy

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

I'm going to tell you this, "going over his head" is almost NEVER a good idea unless you have no fear of alienating everyone and you don't mind putting yourself on the fast track to unemployment. If you're a whistle blower and you don't care, then that's one thing. If you want to stay employed until you can find something better to move on to, probably not a good idea.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
I thought about doing that but I'm not sure. My boss and his boss don't necessarily get along, so I have no idea what would come out of me going over his head.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

A couple of points:

- Going over the boss's head is NEVER a good idea. Repeat that ad infinitum.

- Showing up for an exit interview is NEVER a good idea.

- Saying ANYTHING during an exit interview is NEVER a good idea.

If they coerce you by withholding your last paycheck,
either show up and remain totally silent,
or don't show up and report them to the state labor department or similar labor board for not paying you.

If you are so foolish as to show up for an exit interview, it will be recorded, probably without your knowledge or permission, and every word you say will be used out of context to defame you to anyone who will listen, especially your next employer, who may decide to not be your next employer, so sorry.

- Identifying your next (potential) employer is NEVER a good idea.

Your resignation letter/email should read:

I, {name}, hereby resign,
effective {date}.
{signature}

... in its entirety.
Do not include anything else.
Do not pee on your desk.
Take your stuff and go.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Got to agree with the others. Unless you are under a contract, you need not give any notice - just gin up a resignation letter, sign it, drop it on the boss's desk, grab your stuff, and leave.

Five years ago, I did exactly that (after learning that my old employer wanted me back, and I was totally miserable in the new job).

-- Francis
Francisus ego, sed non sum papa.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
Really? Don't state why I am leaving? Don't go to the exit interview? Just resign, give them their remote access stuff and leave?

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Quote (maybeimaleo)

Really? Don't state why I am leaving? Don't go to the exit interview? Just resign, give them their remote access stuff and leave?
Really. Don't give them any ammo. If you tell them everything, there's a good chance you'll be bad-mouthed by them. It's happened.

-- Francis
Francisus ego, sed non sum papa.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Talk to your boss one on one, do not go over his head, do not have a group intervention. If you are correct in your assessment of how your boss thinks of you (holds a high opinion of you) then talk to him about one or two things that is frustrating you. We all know it comes down to the manager's personality if they will attempt to change to keep you around or fire you (very unlikely) but at least you attempted to fix the situation.

I've said it before, I've had micromanagers change when I talk to them about my frustrations with them and together come up with a solution. Be very calm, professional, and unemotional. Only pick a few things that frustrate you so you don't overwhelm your manager - ie him stopping by every hour to ask the same questions, telling you how to tune the network.



@MikeHalloran - Did you have a bad experience with an exit interview? I've shown up and answered questions in every exit interview I've had without any issues, in fact I still have people at those companies on my resume's contact list.

I did not burn any bridges by speaking foolishly, aka - saying this manager is the reason I am leaving, or this company is horrible to it's employee's. I always give the PC speech - I am leaving to further enhance my career, I liked working here with the all these great people, I am sad to leave, I appreciate all of the opportunities XYZ company has provided, blah blah...

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
Well, I was going to use the exit interview to state that the micromanaging was killing all of the fun. Funny in that of all the years I've worked in IT I have only gone through one exit interview.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

I know this is getting off topic...

If you don't go to the exit interview and state the reason(s) you're leaving, how is the company supposed to fix the problem(s)?
Let me put it another way. If a client sends you a letter stating that they've had enough, they can no longer use your software, they are terminating contracts, and going somewhere else with their business...wouldn't you want to know more details? It may be just my point of view, but that's what I see in a resignation letter, that doesn't provide any other information, dropped off just before you walk out the door.
Speaking from the support person side of my job, I can't fix it if I don't know it's broken.

I agree that if the only person in your exit interview is the one causing all of the issues, you'll want to be extremely cautious. However, normally there is a Human Resources person involved. And if you're afraid of them using what you say out of context, let them know that you're recoding the interview...and record it.

Again my perspective, unless you HATE the company and all of your co-workers (who still have to deal with the micro manager), you're doing them a disservice by not stating why you're leaving.



Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Let me clarify HR's role here:
Once you are a former employee, you are not HR's responsibility.
When you are not a former employee, you are chattel. You are _not_ human. You are _not_ a resource.
For liability reasons, HR will not say anything actionable about you, but they are thoroughly practiced in communicating a message without saying it overtly.
You will be defamed. You will not be able to prove libel or slander.
As you may have guessed, this has all come to my attention on several unpleasant occasions.

There are of course exceptions, HR people who are always honest, ethical and professional.
I know them both.
I know a much larger, statistically significant sample of HR folks who grow their own sharkskin suits.


As for doing the company a favor, there are people at a much higher pay grade than you who are paid to know what's wrong.
If they don't know, it's unlikely they'll listen to you. Since your departure is a mark against HR for hiring you in the first place and/or not retaining you, HR is not going to paint you as anything other than a disgruntled ex-employee.
If they do know, as is more likely, they have good reason for not having fixed the problem already, and they sure don't want anyone bringing attention to the problem's continuing existence.


As for not speaking ill of people, that's a fine idea. Suppose, then, you decide to praise everyone? If you unintentionally damn someone with faint, or not sufficiently glowing, praise, you have made an enemy. If you fail to even mention someone, you have made an enemy.
You can only lose; better to not speak.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

It's certainly up to the OP if he wants to try to fix things or just find a another job and leave. Simple decision to make. But I don't understand all these dire warnings about exit interviews. If you're going to leave, give them two weeks notice, go to the exit interview if there even is one, which is not always the case and just mention the micro-managing very lightly along with "furthering your career" speech. If the only person there is the manager, then you could be more honest in a nice way. If HR is there, I wouldn't try to crucify the boss.

I don't think in any respect that the exit interview is going to be used to crucify you so long as you aren't frothing at the mouth. Employers are just required to say you were employed between certain dates and not get personal when another company calls. Besides, you will have already landed a job before you announce you're leaving.

What is with all these comments about getting lynched at exit interviews? Usually they just want to know of any passwords you have that nobody else does. It's all about them continuing on without you and not about your future.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
When it comes to the exit interview I am not going to skewer anyone. I will politely tell the HR person that the micromanaging is making it hard for a happy person at their job to stay happy.

I'm not sure what else to do...

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Sounds reasonable to me. First things first though - update resume, contact your contacts, start looking, start interviewing, accept job, two weeks notice.

The question is why other people have had such bad experiences with exit interviews. Do you even know that you would have an exit interview? What would be interesting is if your boss is in there with the H.R. person and how you phrase "I'm leaving because of your micro-managing" with that person sitting right there. A bit of a delicate operation unless you want to just blurt it out in a matter of fact way, again with no seething anger seeping through.

I think you owe to yourself and others that might work for him that someone in H.R. is aware of the issue and the person is also made aware.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

I could not disagree with MikeHalloran more regarding exit interviews. The ones that I've had have been pretty casual (often just a form that I filled out) and never recorded. (There are legal ramifications to recording someone without notification, btw.) I've always given a minimum of 2 weeks notice (except in two instances in my career where the employer and I both agreed that it wasn't working out and it was best to part ways immediately). I've also always told them where I was going and why (more pay, better benefits, relocating, etc.). I didn't bad mouth anybody and kept it positive.

Nearly all of my employers have had me come back either as an employee (with a pay increase) and/or as a consultant to help them out. Except for the two instances mentioned above, I have always left on good terms and have been honest with them.

With my most recent job change, I notified my employer as soon as the offer was official. I didn't have an official start date yet, so I hadn't made my resignation official or given my 2 weeks notice. It was a courteous heads-up. When I did give my notification, my employment would have ended the day before Thanksgiving, meaning I wouldn't get paid for the holiday by either employer. I discussed this with my employer, and instead worked things out with both employers so that I actually gave about 3 1/2 weeks notice. This allowed me to wrap things up cleanly at my old job before transitioning to the new one. Both employers appreciated that I wanted to leave things cleanly and were willing to cooperate with me. I'm still on great terms with the old employer (and have helped them out via telephone a few times, and did some consulting work for them), and things are going great with the new employer.

When it comes time to leave a job, my advice is to be honest with them, but filter things so that it comes across as friendly and constructive. (Rather than "John micromanaged me.", you might say something more like "I wanted to seek more independence.") I've have never had being polite to an employer come back to bite me.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Quote:

except in two instances in my career where the employer and I both agreed that it wasn't working out and it was best to part ways immediately
Sounds like ex-girlfriend: "let's part ways immediately if not sooner".

But seriously, that's what I thought about exit interviews, not what was said a bit further up.

Quote:

Rather than "John micromanaged me.", you might say something more like "I wanted to seek more independence."
That's very nice, but it doesn't get the message across strongly enough that THIS was the PRIMARY reason for leaving the job, hence the need to really spell it out but not with an accusatory or angry demeanor.

Advice:
1. If you just don't care any more, then just don't mention it in the interview. Easy peasy
2. If you care enough about the survivors, mention it clearly enough for it to be noted by all present
3. If you can't do it nicely or without anger or stress, see item 1.

Note:
There's no way I could ever do it without getting so mad that I would start to breathe hard. So credit to you if you can keep your stuff together. The reason I would be mad was that I had to bust my hump to get a new job because of the boss.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
I can state how I feel calmly. I did that when I left my last job. I want them to understand why I am leaving, not listen to be whine and become "a dis-grunted employee".

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
After all of the talks I have had with my boss nothing has changed.
The only thing that will change is where I work. I think I am in a good position to move on.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Yeah, I kind of figured that, but you get credit for trying to repair the situation first. Now the trick is to get a new job, deal with your current boss and leave your job and not get too stressed out all at once.

It's just a case of two personality types that can't be together. Be sure to tell us what happens when/if you leave and if you "blow the whistle" on the micro-managing. I feel like I'm part of the water cooler gang at this point.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
Yeah, its sad because the boss thinks of me highly. He is even backing off on a project he gave me. Something he Never does! But this opportunity that came up is at a place I have always dreamed of working and now it is very close to becoming a reality.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
Someone talked to the CIO about morale and it opened a whole can of worms. I was pulled into the office of my bosses' boss and point blankly asked about morale, the teams and mine individually. I used the opportunity to launch into how my boss is driving me away.

To make a long story short, I spoke to my boss, for the third time, about his ways. All he did was calmly defend everything he does.

That right there sealed it for me - I am gone. I will be getting a job offer next Friday. When I put my notice in I am going to seriously upset the apple cart, because my boss thinks everything is so hunky-dory over here!

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Like your boss or not, I would advise against burning your bridges. It has a way of coming back on you down the road. Micro-mangers are the worst, and it would seem that the higher-ups are at least aware there is an issue. You're out of the frying pan, and just leave it at that. Hopefully your new boss is better.

--------------------------------------------------
“Crash programs fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month.” --Wernher von Braun
--------------------------------------------------

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

Quote:

All he did was calmly defend everything he does.
This is typical for a control freak. They are always right and they'll explain it to you or more likely, why YOU'RE wrong. I believe most control freaks cannot see over the little mountain range that surrounds them.

I would have thought you would have ALREADY been gone as I was just thinking about this thread the other day.

I think you SHOULD open up the can of worms since higher management is sniffing that something is wrong. You never hear about a "morale pow-wow" unless they know something is cooking. They need to know who/why. If you can do that without totally assassinating his character, I would do it. If you're going to froth at the mouth (like me), not advisable. You're not burning your bridges with the company, you're only burning your bridge with that one boss. And he may be gone and you could return later if you wanted to on good terms (assuming no frothing).

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
I would already be gone, one would think. I had the "interview" at the end of April (interview is in quotes because I already had a formal interview with this department over the last two years. Budget cuts cost me the position) and their HR dept STILL has not contacted me. I am assured that they will do this this upcoming Friday.

RE: How To Deal WIth A Micromanager

(OP)
UPDATE:

I left and went to my dream job. HR at the old job does not do exit interviews so no worries there.

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