How to Work With a Micromanager

Nov 12, 2013 9:05:54 PM / by Kitty Malone

how work with micromanager Does your manager expect you to follow every cue and then some?
Patrick S. Gilmore, wearing music conductor uniform, c.1890. Bain Collection, Library of Congress.

PLEASE let it be Friday…

You come home from work at your media sales job feeling defeated. Is it only Tuesday? I have another three days of this?

It isn’t your clients – you like who you work with, and you manage your account list well. It isn't your sales – yes, you have an off month occasionally, but you’re a consistent producer. What is it that is causing you to dread work, to dread meetings, that makes you question your very existence?

It is the micro-manager you work for!

They are always asking for details, almost as if they are trying to trip you up. It’s like everything you do isn't quite right or good enough. It’s like when you see an email from them at 1 a.m. and you think to yourself, OMG are they working now, and why are they STILL on that thing we talked about yesterday? It’s like they are always checking up on you and everything you do!

Working for and with this person can be difficult. They may be high achievers, but may also cause a lot of turmoil, which can be costly. You can't make them change their management style. You can help them help you by making it easier for them to give you the leeway you need to do your job:

  • Proactively share high-level overviews. The tendency of a micromanager is to want to dig into details, but understand they do that when they feel they need more information. If you give them enough information without them having to ask for it or dig into it, chances are your micro-manager may be satisfied. Use your CRM to proactively communicate with them where you are – literally and budget-wise – what your plans of action are, and what next steps are being taken.
  • Be prepared. Have a plan and work it. Nothing upholds the micromanager’s view that they have to have their fingers in everything more than when an AE doesn’t have a next step, or gives that blank “I dunno” look when asked who the decision maker is. If you are buttoned up on your top clients and prospects, your micro-manager will have more confidence in you.
  • Show integrity. If you really don't know that decision maker’s name, don't make one up to get out of the interrogation. Murphy’s Law suggests that the one time you do, that will be the one time the real decision maker will be the manager’s brother-in-law. Be where you say you are, doing what you say you are doing. Trust is hard for micro-managers, so don't give them a reason to doubt you.
  • Open dialogue. If the micromanager has undermined you, is argumentative about your action plans, or consistently makes you feel that you are not meeting expectations in so many ways, confront the situation. Explain how this management style is not bringing out the best in you. Be prepared with facts, like you hit your goals, have great relationships with your top accounts, get top rates, bring in new business – whatever it is you do well. Explain that you can do better if – and ask for specific behaviors to change. Ask to start over with trust on both sides so that you can bring  your best to your job.
  • Force change. If the situation continues, or becomes one that is inhibiting your growth, it is time to move on.  No company wants to imprison someone who is unhappy. If you are a talented salesperson with integrity and a good track record, you are a hot commodity! Look around and find a situation – and management team – that will better match your needs and style.

Chances are the micromanager isn't thrilled with that label. Help them help themselves so they can help you.

By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services

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Tags: sales productivity, Managing Up, CRM, Blog

Kitty Malone

Written by Kitty Malone

Director of Customer Service