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Working with Micromanagers

#TLDR: How to bell the cat? #PBJAM has some recommendations


In the recent event hosted by #golocalvirtual, we were discussing how to build effective teams. One topic that came up as a hurdle to team effectiveness was micromanagers.

We all have experienced micromanagement at some time in our professional careers and if we look at ourselves closely and honestly, we also have been guilty of micromanagement every now and then.


How do you respectfully and constructively address #micromanagement? Here are a few pointers.


  1. Understand with #empathy With the #PBJAM value of #empathy, I put myself in the shoes of the micromanager to understand them first. I ask the question, what is amplifying the micromanagement tendencies? Make notes over a month or two and observe circumstances and triggers. These triggers can be related to some personal insecurities and past experiences. If you are comfortable, it is also a good idea to talk to your colleagues about what they have seen exacerbating the micromanaging behaviors.

  2. Be #curious Broaching the issue with #micromanager is always difficult. I like to start the discussion with an open-ended question, "What does success look like for us/our team this quarter?". This is a good way to establish a common ground and goal. The next question is, "How can I help you to be successful?". This is a good way to understand expectations. Take some time (a week or two) to reflect on this discussion and jot down where you want to contribute and avoid the micromanager stepping in.

  3. Communicate as a #criticalfriend In this meeting, reiterate what you had heard from the last meeting as the priorities for this quarter as well as expectations from you to make sure you still have a common page. Show the activities (how), and sub-goals (what) that you will deliver against and how you will keep the micromanager informed/engaged. Make sure that your "how" and "what" is addressing the triggers that you have observed over the past couple of months.

  4. Delivery The most important part of this process! Deliver against what you promised, on time, in full! Do ask for feedback if you are on the right track often. Nothing builds confidence and reputation like delivering against promises!

So, if you have been hit with comments like "Don't tell me how to do my job" or "I am concerned, so let's add one more dashboard or meeting or metric" or something similar, try this approach. Let us know how it works.


At #PBJAM, our clients work on many such issues of the modern workplace that are soft skill related. Our effective science built under the hood and peer frameworks help them to make verifiable progress against the challenges they face. Have you talked to your HR about engaging with #PBJAM yet? Make that call...



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