Handle a Micromanaging Boss in 5 Quick Steps
The other day, I found myself in deep conversation with Emma about our experience with bosses (one of which we shared when we worked in retail!) and how to handle the ones that absolutely suck. In other words: the micromanaging bosses.
Due to the fact that I'm now a business owner, more than ever I need to begin thinking about the traits I wish to hold as a someday supervisor and how I want to go about discipline when it's necessary. Although I consider myself a very organized and meticulous individual, I would hope that I could trust my team to use their talents and do good, not second-guessing or questioning their talents and abilities as I micromanage them. Why hire someone if they are totally incompetent, truly? They're clearly not!
Here's the straight up truth: none of us are perfect and none of us have the exact same skillset. We need each other to accomplish success and make up the parts of our stronger whole as organizations, businesses and society. There's a reason we're placed here in each others' lives - to do good together, and I personally believe that should be every boss' mantra, but sadly that isn't always the case.
When things get rough, we must lead with the following:
KILL 'EM WITH KINDNESS
You won't get anywhere beating down the same message and trying to argue with insanity. If your boss is out of their mind and convinced that you're incapable of doing anything right, the best approach is silence and kindness.
You could bring all the evidence in your arsenal that you're a hard working, capable and strong individual and you'd still not get through to them. It's not because you are not worthy, it's because they aren't even listening. Approaching conflict with sweetness is key.
DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
It's not you - it's them. If they're treating you like this, they're likely treating many, many individuals like this. There's nothing about you that makes you deserving of this emotional abuse, and remember: nothing about this is logical.
It's so easy to take blatant insults as personal, I get it. It's easy to wonder what's wrong with yourself and beat yourself up over it. But it's time to stop! When attempting to put this stuff in perspective, I always like to believe that something negative happened to these people in their lifetime that conditioned them to be so cold and harsh - that humans aren't this ridiculous-acting by default. There is nothing you could do to make this different.
PREPARE TO ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS
Because they often don't believe you're capable of doing anything correctly, just be prepared to answer every last detail they need to know - and do it with poise.
Gather all the data, come prepared and be ready for just about anything!
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COVER ALL YOUR BASES
Similar to gathering data and coming prepared, you might want to send them emails after your conversations, clarifying what you heard and giving them the chance to edit any miscommunications before they arise as real problems. Paper trails will be life or death for you when it comes to watching your back - so take them seriously!
I've had a boss tell me that "it would've been good had I done X"... when I did X. Yep, I was well aware of that! It's why you hired me! Paper trails provide reassurance.
FIND A RELEASE
Finding a stress release may mean identifying people who you can talk to and blow off some steam with. I don't care what anyone says: having a close-knit coworker group is so, so key to surviving unhealthy and toxic environments.
Even if you aren't close to your coworkers, speaking to your closest friends or family about your struggles can be incredibly therapeutic. And, if it comes down to it: reach out and talk to someone... yes, "someone" meaning a therapist! Having a healthy release is necessary when dealing with these types of hardships - don't allow the stress and pent-up exhaustion + anger get the best of you.
A quote reminiscent of this comes from Anne Lamott: "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better." If your boss doesn't want their employees speaking poorly about them, they should behave better! You are processing the conflict the only way you know how and that's not on you, girlboss.
Take these 5 steps in stride and consciously work to improve your reality, even if you can't change your boss' mind. I've learned over the years that I must disconnect work from daily life and not take work home with me. Although I admit it's difficult when I work from home and my field is one that never really "turns off", learning when to disconnect is vital.
How do you put things in perspective when dealing with a micromanaging boss?
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BLOGGER: KATHRYN COFFMAN
Kathryn is the lead contributor + founder at FashionablyFrank.com. Obsessed with leading a life of balance, she started the blog in 2013. Since graduating from The Evergreen State College (Washington) in 2016, she is now a digital marketing specialist through her business, Fashionably Frank Marketing. She believes a cup of coffee is the answer to all of life's problems + that all women should strive to embrace a #girlboss mantra.