Embracing a supportive work environment.

January 30th, 2024

Today, I’m shifting our perspective from focusing solely on your role as a leader to exploring how to navigate a workplace where you might have a particularly detail-oriented boss.

You know what I mean – someone who is being a micromanager.

Imagine it's Monday morning, and you're heading into the office. You're prepared to tackle your work and look forward to it, and then you remember your boss might hover around your desk, checking in on your progress or adding their input.

In the past, you loved your job, having the trust and autonomy to get on with it and do it well.

Then, your new boss came in, and things changed.

You've transitioned from a self-reliant colleague to someone under constant scrutiny, receiving directives even for tasks you've excelled at for years.

Dealing with a micromanager can be challenging; it's draining, stressful, and sometimes demoralising. In its worst form, it can resemble (or be) bullying behaviour.

I once witnessed a similar scenario when my own boss faced micromanagement from their new leader. We (the whole team) were impacted and felt overwhelmed by this shift in management style.

Credit goes to my boss for taking proactive steps to address this issue and eventually forging a strong friendship with their micromanaging boss.

Signs of Micromanagement

  1. Your boss insists on being involved in every aspect of your work, adhering to their vision of perfection, believing their way is the only correct approach.
  2. They attend all the same meetings as you, often monopolising discussions or meticulously scrutinising your presentations.
  3. You can't initiate interactions with other departments or external stakeholders without first obtaining your boss's approval, causing delays.
  4. Your boss obsesses over even the smallest details, down to font types and sizes you use.

Understanding the Micromanager

It's essential to recognise that your boss may not be aware of their micromanaging tendencies.

Their perfectionism and fear of failure might be driving this behaviour.

They might also be under immense pressure to deliver results, which can be debilitating.

Understanding their motivations can help you adapt your response.

Building Trust and Setting Expectations

I watched my boss take the initiative to understand their new leader’s expectations and worked on building trust.

They embraced the templates and details their boss requested, all while delivering in a way that reduced their boss’s stress levels, even if it meant going the extra mile.

Following her example, we adopted a "go with the flow" mentality and focused on helping and asking clarifying questions to ensure we understood the requirements.

By establishing agreements regarding expected standards and using the required templates, trust began to form.

Effective Communication and Feedback

Maintaining constant and detailed communication reassured the new boss that we were well informed and capable of doing our job.

As trust grew, my boss felt comfortable providing upward feedback that excessive detail was unnecessary and exhausting.

Surprisingly, her input was accepted, and micromanaging gradually diminished over time.

Remember, this issue has no quick fix; it requires patience and effort.


  1. Build trust
  2. Seek to understand their perspective
  3. Communicate openly and consistently
  4. Provide regular updates


  1. Bluntly tell them to stop micromanaging
  2. Bypass them or speak negatively about them to others
  3. Call them a ‘control freak’

While our story had a positive outcome, it's essential to acknowledge that not all efforts to manage micromanagement will succeed.

If you've tried various strategies and still struggle, consider a new role with a different boss, one that aligns better with your professional fulfilment.

Life is too precious to spend in a role that doesn't bring you joy and satisfaction.

If you want to understand the depth of your leadership skills, click here to complete the 'Exceptional Teams Scorecard' and identify your strengths or which areas you may need to develop.

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