9 Tips on How to Handle a Micro Manager

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Let me clearly state that I do NOT have a micro manager.  However, I have observed my fair share of micro manager dynamics and helped colleagues navigate those waters.  If I can help just one person who happens to read this, then that's all I can hope for. Remember, you can't change a person, but it just takes one person to change a relationship.   

Here are my tips on how to handle a micro manager:

1. Communicate important details early.  Note: Important details, not all details.  See #2.

2. Don't over-communicate unimportant details.  Otherwise you will set a precedent and expectation that you will continue to do this.

3. Anticipate your manager's questions and surface answers before you're even asked the questions.  This will reassure them that you have things under control.

4. Fully understand your manager's goals and remember that your job is to make your manager look good.  If you're making your manager look good then you'll build trust and the reigns should loosen.

5. Always introduce your manager to new people, clients, and vendors.  Your manager will feel respected and enjoy seeing you cultivate business relationships.  Your successful partnerships are also their successful partnerships.

6. Ask your manager what areas or projects they foresee an opportunity for you to be more creative or entrepreneurial in. This expresses your desire for more freedom without criticizing their management style.

7. Ask them directly about their expectations for both frequency and level of communication.  When you address this directly the expectations are clear and you avoid misunderstandings.  No assumptions are made on either side.

8. Be proactive about alleviating the pressure. Micro managers' symptoms flare up when demands are high and they are being pressured to perform better. You can help alleviate this pressure by performing better than they expect or ask you to.

9. Leave a paper trail.  When your manager is under pressure they might forget what you say and when you say it.  Always give recaps and updates via email, not just verbally.

Good luck!

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