Is your boss a micromanager and driving you crazy? Here are some signs to look for

There is a fine line between being a passionate, involved manager and one that drives everyone f’n crazy by poking his nose into every little thing you do. When you have this micromanager-type person, it will most certainly lead to disempowered, disenchanted, and despondent employees, who will become unable to make any decisions on their own for fear of criticisms.

Does your manager find his way into every single meeting – even informal impromptu discussions?

Having your manager sit in on every damn meeting, or merely stick his head in the door, or sit for a few minutes, asking annoying questions, and then noisily leaving is demoralizing. It is showing your team that they are not allowed to think or decide things for themselves. It reflects that you don’t have faith in their judgements or their abilities to get things accomplished without your super awesome insights and intelligence.

Does your boss think that you are all slackers, while he is the only guy who gets it and busts his butt?

It is highly unlikely that the entire team is comprised of slackers. Let’s be real- there is always one or two people in the group that are dead weight and wouldn’t be missed if they decided to leave the company. But everyone being weak and lazy? That’s a bit of a leap. If that is the case, isn’t that the manager’s fault for hirig the wrong type of people? Or did he hire lower-ranked employees, so that he could make himself feel superior, boost his ego, abuse, and belittle them, knowing that they don’t have many other options?

It’s also a self-fulfilling prophesy. If the manager is micromanaging everyone to death, the best and brightest, who are able to find a new job, will leave. The manager will be left with the duds that are unable to procure a new job because they really aren’t so good.


Does your boss ask to see every letter, memo, or email that is sent out?

What your boss is saying is that he does not trust you. He feels that without his oversight, you will send out materials that have typos, bad grammar, inarticulate, or worse. Secretly, he’s concerned that you may be telling the truth to others outside of his team about how he is holding you and the team hostage to his demanding oversight of every and all details and holding back your professional growth.

Do you have to go to your boss for sign-off on every little thing you do?

It is great for a manager to be available and accessible when a staff member seeks advice and guidance.  A good manager should empower her team to think and act for themselves. She should have confidence in their abilities and judgments.

Just like a good parent has to let go of their child’s hand and let them walk, fall down, and get back up again on their own, managers need to allow their team to fail at times, learn, and improve. They need to build up their staff’s confidence to be able to work on their own.

Being forced to show every little thing you do to your boss is a sure fire way to demean and demoralize a person. It is as if you are in the Middle Ages and required to kneel before the King and beg for his approval.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, your manager can’t just sign off on your work and let you quickly race out of his office.  You must endure waiting for him to finish an important call, which as you eavesdrop, realize that it is a bullshit conversation with one of his buddies- the balding guy with the big beer belly in accounting- gossiping about other employees. He puts his finger to his pursed lips and shushes you because you had the nerve and temerity to distract him by looking harried, while trying- in vein- to get his attention, since you need to meet a hard deadline. Your boss then abruptly ends the call in a dramatic fashion, by slamming the phone headset into the receiver and glares at you for daring to interrupt his important ‘conference call’.  Before you can get a word out, he starts to lecture you about some nonsensical life lesson in a meandering, incoherent style and you have no idea what he is saying and where he is going with this soliloquy.  Unaware of his own rudeness and inability to tell a simple story without boring someone to tears, he is so impressed with himself that he asks you to bring in the entire team, so he can start the whole lecture all over again. Meanwhile, you still haven’t gotten him to sign-off on your work.

Does you manager live at the office because he has to do everything?

Is your manager always lurking around the office? You saw him that one day at 6:30 am when you came in early because you needed to prepare for a breakfast meeting and he was already snooping around. Another time, at about 8:00 pm, you were working a little late to kill time before meeting some friends for drinks, and you clearly saw him rifling through papers on your neighbor’s desk. This is a scary warning sign that he simply can’t let go. Clearly, the manager has no faith in anyone and needs to look at everything everyone does all the time, especially when his employees are not in the office and he could sift through their stuff to spy on them. Since you caught him twice in the act, imagine how many other times he is sneaking around.

If this is your boss, I’m sorry. It is a big problem that won’t go away on its own. You now have two options:

1.      Have an honest and open conversation with your boss and let her know how you feel. Frame it in a way so that you are not attacking her, but are trying to inform her of positive, proactive ways, in which she can act that would be more empowering to you and the rest of the team. Let her know that you love your job, the people, the company, and think that she is a great boss (I know it’s a little white lie, but I don’t think telling her that you want to strangle her and dangle her outside of the 34th floor window would endear yourself to her and promote positive change), and sharing your concerns and suggestions for change to make life better for everyone including her. Let her know that you understand that she is putting in so many long hours and taking on so much responsibilities that you and everyone else would like more responsibilities and autonomy to help her and make her life easier.

2.      If she does not get what you are saying and continues with her behavior, you need to either alert management or start looking for a new job (wait, I guess that is three if you separate the talk with management and look for a new job stuff. Never mind, it’s too much work to change it now! Let’s just stick with two).

If her approach doesn’t change and management doesn’t care, life is too short to be micromanaged to death. Just move on to a place where the people actually appreciate you.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: