I’ve just started a new job (Director level position, reporting into an Executive Director) but I can tell four weeks in that my new boss will not cede the reins enough to allow me the authority to do the job.
He insists on approving every presentation, every communication with the senior management team, every decision with external clients – I feel like I have gone backwards to my junior executive days where such tight scrutiny and hand holding were required.
I have tried to speak to him gently about it, pointing out my level of experience and responsibility in previous roles. I have also tried to explain that I work well autonomously and when given a definite set of business objectives but I feel he is being deliberately unclear on my personal, and the company objectives, so that I always need to go back to him with questions or for advice. How can I manage this professionally without falling out with him?
No one likes a boss who scrutinizes their work and constantly checks in. Not only is this micromanaging behavior annoying, it can stunt your professional growth.
But remember, it’s early days – there is scope to change things here, to be able to secure the autonomy you need to get your work done and advance your career.
When it comes to micromanaging managers, it is rarely to do with you, rather their own need to control the situation. Unfortunately, you can’t change the way your boss leads, but you can change your approach using the these tactics.
Firstly, build trust. Frustrating as it may sound, you need to make a conscious and honest effort to earn your manager’s trust by succeeding in the dimensions that he cares about. I appreciate your experience and level of autonomy in your previous role, but this is a new role, a new boss and the beginning of a new relationship and therefore trust must be built up.
Telling a micromanager that you don’t appreciate his controlling behavior may only trigger more of it
Secondly, make a conscious effort to keep your boss in the loop – regular check-ins. While annoying now, if your manager feels like you are likely to keep him/her more involved in the process it may reduce future hand-holding.
Finally, if the above strategies fail it will require some direct and open communication. Telling a micromanager that you don’t appreciate his controlling behavior may only trigger more of it. It’s important to enter into this conversation with an open-mind, clarity and total honestly on what you believe is working/not working and a willingness to hear how he/she believes things are working/not working.
You are not there to please your manager – rather you are there to serve the company. Your goal in communicating is not to “fall out” with your boss (it takes two to do that), but rather to come to a solid agreement with him as to the most productive way of working for both of you and in a way that best serves the business.
About Sinead Millard
Coaching ambitious people to live more fulfilled and successful lives. I help clients take control and reach the next level of success.
Phone: +353 (0)87 710 1437