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How to protect yourself from a micromanaging boss

By Goretti Kimani | Published Fri, April 21st 2017 at 07:50, Updated April 21st 2017 at 07:55 GMT +3

Working under a great boss is a dream come true for many a career builder. This is a boss who supervises the subordinate’s work to attain corporate goals while providing an enabling environment for the employee’s personal career development.

While bosses can be significantly tolerated for career growth’s sake, there are those who make employees feel ‘totally’ disempowered due to the amount of control netted on them.

A micromanaging boss is a control freak who operates on crippling his or her subordinates’ thinking and decision-making abilities. This is with the unfortunate believe that work activities and processes ‘can only be done their way or no-way’.

Micro-managers are sometimes confused with ‘hands-on managers’. While most micro-managers are perfectionists and have little or no faith in their employees’ competencies, hands-on managers on the hand are excellent in their people management skills. This makes them an asset for both the organisations and career success hopefuls. Unknown to many career builders, a pathological micro-manager can harm both their career health and their personal life. Some of the obvious effects of working under a micromanager include:

Erosion of confidence in the subordinate’s skills and competencies. It is not surprising to come across very qualified hires who have developed the belief that their skills are no longer relevant in the job-market owing to the fact that their bosses always degrade their work.

Compromise your health: Untamed micro-managers are known to push their victims to great extremes, pushing some of them to a mental or nervous breakdown, alcoholism, drug and substance abuse, and even suicide.

Poor output

Reduced performance and productivity: Due to lack of autonomy, employees morale dwindles inevitably leading to poor output and jeopardising the organisational growth.

This is worsened by the fact that creativity, innovation and problem solving faculties are crippled by the micro-manager as only his views see the light of day.

Over-dependence on the boss: A micromanaging boss consciously or unconsciously creates robots i.e. those who follow instructions to the letter without challenging the authority.

An individual working under a micro-manager is however not helpless or hopeless. With the right career literacy skills, it is practically possible to circumvent your way and still excel in your quest for career success.

How can one cushion their career from the negative effects of micromanagement? Acceptance of the existence of the problem-don’t be in denial. There are always tell-tale signs of an over-controlling boss. Self-evaluation. Could you be the reason your boss has resulted to micromanagement? Are you always behind schedule? Do you lack attentiveness to details leading to failed projects?

Understand your boss: Could your boss be suffering from a behavioural condition? Could his boss be micromanaging him too?
Focus on your tangible deliverables: It is advisable to focus on the measurable deliverables and adhere to set policies and procedures when dealing with performance issues.

Observe behaviour patterns: Experts quips that certain over-controlling tendencies may be triggered by work pressure and personal problems. Emotional intelligence and other social skills will come in handy in this regards. Improve your communication: Loop him or her all crucial work-related communications and be proactive in offering feedback.

Be inquisitive and ask for your boss’s input to tame his insecurities especially if you are more competent than him or her.

Refrain from putting your over-controlling boss to his or her defence: This has the capacity to worsen or aggravate things as it might be interpreted as insubordination with undesirable consequences to your career.

Seek for departmental transfer or change jobs altogether. This should be the last resort. You must keep your sanity intact if you are to survive.

-The Writer is a HR Practitioner.

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