If you are a leader, one practice you should always follow is to micromanage your brand new team members like crazy during the 90-day probationary period. You need to do everything you can to set that person up for success. Not by asking, Did you do that? Did you do that? Instead, by inquiring if they have everything they need. Do they have any questions? Is there anything you can do to help them?
This allows you an opportunity to see if they are going to be fantastic at the job. If they struggle, you know you have a problem. If they excel, you have a winner and you need to give them the room to grow.
Once the three-month period is up, no one needs to be micromanaged. So why does it happen? As a team member, there are two things to understand about a micromanager. Either they don’t trust you or they are control freaks. It’s usually the latter. Either way, they aren’t “leading.” My definition of a leader is someone who spends their time making their team successful—not the other way around.
I was recently asked by a friend if I had any suggestions on how to deal with her micromanaging leader. And when my kicking-him-in-the-shin recommendation didn’t work, I figured I better come up with a better one.If you are being micromanaged, here are some steps you can take to resolve the issue:
- Talk to me, Goose. – No matter the deal, you have to discuss what’s going on with your boss. Set a time when you can meet without distraction and explain what you are feeling. Keep in mind, it should be a discussion, not an attack, which will immediately put them on the defensive. Explain what you are feeling, and then be adult enough to hear their response. Remember, you might not like what they say. If the reason they are micromanaging is because of your lack of performance, then don’t be offended. Simply ask the steps necessary to fix the problem. Then, do everything you can to resolve it! If you do and they continue to micromanage, then you’re not the problem.
- It’s not you, it’s me. Wait, no, it’s you. – If they truly are a control freak, then it is going to be a little harder to fix. In fact, you might not be able to. But at least you can bring the issue to their attention. So do it! You need to show how you have been consistent in completing whatever your KRA (Key Result Areas) is. If you’ve proven yourself to be successful, you now have the opportunity to ask that leader why they have felt the need to check up on you so often. (Don’t use the word micromanage. Believe me, it won’t get you points.) If they are mature enough to engage and explain, then request more authority. If the leader is a control freak, they probably aren’t mature enough to have this conversation. Again, do it anyway, realizing it may take more than one meeting. Your job is to help them see you can be trusted.
- Which side is your good side? – Finally, ask them to mentor you in this process. Yes, I know. If they’re a control freak, why would you ask them to guide you? Simple enough: It will actually help them see they are being a control freak.
If you have gone over the process with them multiple times, they will eventually realize you are a success. That will help them let go…some.
Question: What situations have you experienced with a micromanaging leader?