“There seems to be only one right way to do anything – and that’s his way.”
“She’s always checking in on me, redirecting my efforts.”
“What can I say so he’ll let go and trust me to do my job?”
Have you ever had a boss or colleague delegate a task, then look over your shoulder the entire time you worked? Telling you not only what to do – but how to do it?
If so, you know the impact micromanagement can have – not just on your work, but on your life.
Did you know you that instead of letting micromanagement chip away at trust in your relationship – undermining your confidence and commitment – you can actually use it? Micromanagement can be a gift and a teacher, if you allow it to be.
Invite your micromanager to meet with you to discuss your work. Share that you have an idea to strengthen productivity, and you’d like to work on it together.
Step into the conversation with positive intention. Establish common ground and offer respect and gratitude for the work you’ve been given.
- Revisit what’s expected. Clarify your understanding of the job to be done. What core need are you expected to meet? Is there a specific approach your boss or colleague would like you to take? Why is ‘this’ approach the desired approach?
- Talk about what you need. Share the conditions that help you do your best work. Freedom. Flexibility. Autonomy.
- Ask if your boss or colleague is willing to hear what’s hard for you. Share what’s getting in the way of you doing your best work. Share your points of confusion and the impact on you. Brainstorm solutions, together.
- Propose how you could offer more. Share what you see as your broader capability. Talk about the support you need to be able to expand your contribution.
- Establish parameters for feedback. Talk about how you can best report in on your efforts. Clarify what’s important to keep others apprised on. Explore checks and balances. Ask what others need to see and know to trust you to truly run with this assignment.
Trust begins with you. Talking through these points will establish mutual understanding of what’s expected of you – and the support you need to be effective. You’ll set a baseline of desired behavior. You’ll take the guesswork out of earning your manager’s trust and gaining the freedom you need.
And, you may discover an opportunity you have to show up in your relationship differently. Armed with deeper insight about what your manager truly needs from you, you’ll be positioned to consider…
Might it be that you’re attracting micromanagement?
Trust is always a two way street. A breakdown in trust is rarely all one person’s ‘fault.’ When trust erodes, we all benefit from looking at how we showed up in the situation, and how our own behavior may have contributed.
Might it be that you – unintentionally and even unconsciously – practiced little behaviors that gave your manager or team member reason to pause? Any number of behaviors can transform managers into micromanagers, including:
- Missing deadlines
- Whitewashing mistakes
- Resisting constructive feedback
- Withholding information
- Failing to get support or develop critical skills
Few of us are the best versions of ourselves when micromanaged. The tendency is to point the finger and lay blame on the other person’s inability to let go.
And yet, in my experience, both ‘sides’ have opportunity for inner work! Engaging in trust work gives everyone a chance to strengthen trust and work more productively and meaningfully, together.
Yours in trust,