Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Having a boss that feels he/she is the expert and should approve or modify everything you do, can be frustrating (I know ;-). But author Karen Dillon gives four helpful steps to working with a boss who she describes as a control freak. The four tactics are:
- Manage your boss’s insecurities. In other words, he (she) has worries too. Try to see it from their perspective.
- Don’t fight it. If you openly rebel, you lose influence.
- Scrutinize yourself. Have you contributed to the problem? What could you do differently?
- Look ahead. Focus on the future and things will usually start to improve.
Read the article (it begins below and continues with a link to the original Harvard Business Review article).”
What to Do If Your Boss Is a Control Freak
by Karen Dillon, Harvard Business Review, 12/23/14.
…Despite what you may think, the root of his micromanaging is probably not that your boss is a jerk or that he feels threatened by you. Rather, his actions might be explained by factors that have little to do with you, such as a poor understanding of his role as manager, micromanaging bosses of his own, a lack of motivation to question how he’s always done things, or personal insecurity.
That said, it can be hard to cut your boss some slack when he isn’t cutting you any. His harping about every small misstep you take can feel overwhelmingly personal. The good news is that you don’t have to resign yourself to being nit-picked to death. You may not be able to change your boss, says Carol Walker, a principal at Prepared to Lead, a leadership development consulting firm. But you do have some control. “You have more power to improve the situation than you probably realize,’” Walker says. You aren’t likely to turn things around with one great conversation or one burst of high performance. But you can, little by little, own and direct a process that will enable your boss to start trusting you more and monitoring you less. Here’s how.
1. Manage his insecurity
Form an educated guess about where your boss’s sensitivities lie. If you believe, for example, that he’s intimidated by his boss, think of ways you can alleviate that pressure, such as running reports to better prepare him for meetings with his manager. Or perhaps he’s afraid that people don’t perceive him as essential, and he’s on a tear to prove how much you and others need him. Dispel his fears, advises Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future. Show him that you value his guidance. Bring him any news you hear, and take your ideas to him before sharing them with others. As your boss begins to trust that you’ll come to him without prompting, he may loosen his grip…