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Help - my boss is stifling me! How to navigate a micromanaging boss.

bird in a cage

Welcome back to our career advice column series, Dear Judy and Linda. In this segment, we're diving into a topic that's all too familiar for many: micromanagement at work.

Picture this: you've landed a new job with a boss you admire – smart, driven, and full of potential. But as time goes on, you feel like your every move is being scrutinized. Sound familiar? You're not alone.

And if your boss is a woman, the situation can feel murkier if you were hoping for a supportive female mentor or ally at work.

People say you don’t quit your job, you quit your boss. 

It happened to Judy earlier in her career - and we don’t want it to happen to you!

Dealing with a manager who’s suffocating you might feel like a no-win situation, but there are ways you can turn it around.

So, grab your coffee, and let's dig into Lisa's question below. Whether you’re actively dealing with this issue or not, there are gems of wisdom to take back into your role to manage difficult work situations with grace.

Dear Judy and Linda,

I hope you can shed some light on handling this sticky situation. I'm honestly at my breaking point. My new boss, Sarah, is amazing – super sharp and driven.

But lately, her management style feels… stifling.  She micromanages everything, from my daily tasks to how I structure emails.  It's killing my creativity and, frankly, my confidence.

I really want to make it work with Sarah.  Any advice on how to navigate my micromanaging boss?


Lisa R.

Check out our answer below!

Dear Lisa,

Thanks for writing. You’ve got this, Lisa! It's completely understandable to feel frustrated with a micromanaging boss, even one you admire. Here's how to turn this into a positive:

First, take a deep breath and remember your strengths. You were hired for a reason – Sarah saw your capabilities!  Let that confidence simmer in the back of your mind as you approach the situation.  

Next, spend a moment trying to understand why Sarah's micromanaging you. Is it due to a lack of trust, a need for control, or pressure from higher-ups? Of course, you’re not a mind reader, but thinking about the underlying reasons can help you tailor your approach to addressing the issue.

Now you’re prepared to schedule a one-on-one meeting with Sarah.  This is your chance to have an open and honest conversation (don't worry, we can guide you through it!)  Express your appreciation for her vision and goals. Then, calmly explain how her current level of oversight makes it difficult for you to work independently.

Framing it to improve communication and workflow can be a great starting point. Realize Sarah may not be aware of her behavior, so be ready to provide specific examples to illustrate your points.

Remember, sometimes micromanaging stems from a fear of failure or simply a lack of delegation skills. Share specific examples of how you've successfully tackled projects. Come prepared with suggestions for a more collaborative approach, such as weekly check-ins or progress reports instead of constant monitoring.

By demonstrating your competence and proposing solutions, you can build trust and create a more positive working dynamic with Sarah. Turn a difficult situation into an opportunity to shine and strengthen your relationship with your boss!

Good luck!

Judy and linda image


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