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Ask SheCanCode Anything: “Dealing with a micro-manager!”

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ARTICLE SUMMARY

This week, we’re talking about how to handle a micro-manager - especially if you’re just starting your career journey. To help us answer these questions is coach, Fiona Hatton.

AS PART OF SHECANCODE’S MISSION TO MOTIVATE, INSPIRE AND SUPPORT WOMEN IN TECH, WE’VE LAUNCHED OUR ASK US ANYTHING SERIES WHERE YOU CAN GET ANSWERS TO YOUR CAREER QUESTIONS.

We hope this open forum will give our community an opportunity to voice their worries, concerns and problems in a safe space. And possibly help others in similar situations at the same time!

Fiona Hatton

This week, we’re talking about how to handle a micro-manager – especially if you’re just starting your career journey. To help us answer these questions is coach, Fiona Hatton.

Fiona believes that we all deserve to live a great life, but what great looks like changes over time and sometimes we find ourselves stuck living in a way that isn’t right for us anymore. Yoco Studio’s unique blend of yoga and coaching can help you to feel happier and more content by opening up possibilities and overcoming barriers in your way. 

Join the Yoco Studio community for free resources, useful tips and offers – a wellbeing toolkit to help you make changes and be kind to yourself.

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IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR US – WHETHER IT BE ABOUT WORK RELATIONSHIPS, GAINING CONFIDENCE, OR TAKING THE LEAP INTO TECH – YOU CAN ASK US ANYTHING.

ASK US ANYTHING

Hi SheCanCode,

Help, I have a micromanager!

I’m fairly new in my career and have been in my current role for 18 months. I enjoy my work but have a serious issue with my manager.

They have zero trust in the team and every detail needs to be signed off by them. I feel like I spend half of my time appeasing them, when I could be dealing with work. And let’s not get into the constant meetings and having to account for every minute of the working day.

I’m beginning to reach the end of my patience. How can I deal with my manager without burning bridges?

Cheers,

Fed-Up Employee


HELLO FED-UP EMPLOYEE,

A manager can be the difference between an amazing job and one that fills you with dread each morning. When managers feel the need to control every aspect of their direct report’s work it can be really damaging: to the person who’s being micromanaged, the wider team, and the work that’s being produced. And it’s not fabulous for the manager either. On just a practical level, it stops them from getting on with their work and slows down their team too.

There are lots of reasons someone might micromanage, and spotting the causes is a great place to start.

UNDERSTAND YOUR MANAGER

Getting to know your manager could help you understand what’s driving them to micromanage, and how you could talk to them about it. Consider:

  • What are their priorities? This can help you work out what they’re likely to be most controlling about.
  • How are they measured? If they’re measured on your performance for example, that could be driving their behaviour. If it’s all about accuracy, this could mean that they feel the need to scrutinise every detail. 
  • What would make their (and your) life easier? Where could a small adjustment from you or the wider team make a big difference? For example, if they are likely to review work multiple times, how can you factor that into your planning to give you both time?

BUILD TRUST

Micromanaging can stem from a lack of trust – this doesn’t mean that you’ve done something to break down trust by the way. It just means that you might have to demonstrate that you can be trusted, and that could take time. Think about whether this could be the cause of your manager’s behaviour and how you could reassure them:

  • How could you give your manager greater visibility, on your terms? Think about how you currently update your manager – it sounds like this isn’t working for either of you. Consider how you could shape these updates so they’re more useful – taking into account what you know about your manager and how they like to work.
  • What would happen if you were honest? Being open about your changing priorities, and whether deadlines are going to be missed could be helpful. Providing as much notice as possible, means your manager has space to adapt and manage expectations across the business too. 

SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER

This could be a difficult and uncomfortable conversation. Before you start, ask yourself:

  • What do you want to get out of this conversation? Think about what’s possible, and what changes could make the most difference. What steps will get you there?
  • How can you make your manager feel comfortable – not attacked? It can be difficult to hear that you’re making someone unhappy at work, how can you make this a more positive conversation?
  • What will you do if nothing changes? Think about your options – if the first conversation doesn’t change things it doesn’t mean there’s nothing else you can do.
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