Hi Everyone, 

It’s Hector here and I hope all is well. Always a pleasure when I hear from many of you with your thoughts, ideas, and even complaints about life in the credit and collection lane. We credit professionals often end up trying to please everyone, but it seems like no-one likes our decisions or how we might do things. 

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been hearing from some of you who are dealing with a micromanager at your work, presenting quite an obstacle to getting your to-do list of items completed. 

Before I tell you how to graciously let your boss know to give you some space, let me take a moment to generally explain a couple of traits of a micromanager.

First, a micromanager is someone who closely observes and controls the work of their direct subordinates. For example, instead of telling you what tasks need to be done, they go through the steps and may even show you each step. That type of management style might be appropriate for a new employee who needs training, but it quickly wears one down who already knows the ropes.

Secondly, micromanagers have difficulty entrusting work to other team members. For whatever reasons, real or perceived, they don’t trust you to do the task right. As a result, this situation is not conducive to building trust in the workplace and/or making employees feel valued as members of the team.

Thirdly, and this won’t seem very intuitive, but many micromanagers truly think they have the best interest of you and the company at heart. In their view, the more they control, the better for you to learn, and the greater the company stays safe and secure. Unfortunately, the exact opposite is true. The more they control your work, the less motivated and capable employee you are, and the weaker the organization becomes.

Bringing up micromanaging concerns may involve starting a difficult conversation. But addressing this common leadership challenge will hopefully create a more sustainable company culture.

As I’ve mentioned to those who wrote in, a good place to start with a problem concerning any management issue is with human resources. Expressing your concerns to an uninvolved third party is a much safer way to begin the conversation. Sometimes a manager just doesn’t realize they are micromanaging others, and a third party may be able to be the appropriate intermediary to correcting the situation. At a minimum, you can hopefully get some advice on how to approach the situation. 

If there is no-one else you can reach out to, you may have no choice but to speak to your manager directly. I always advise people to broach the subject by first trying to show appreciation for your job and your manager’s position. 

At some point you may want to ask what you need to do so that your manager is free to entrust you to do your job without them having to closely monitor you. You may find that the reason for their need to check all the details has to do with legitimate safety or privacy concerns. However, if this is not the issue then it’s a good idea to ask your manager to let you do your job as best as you can and then ask for help if you’re having any problems. You may also want to consider asking him/her to review your work or project upon completion so that you can get their input and correct any items that may still fall short. Make sure that when you are given more flexibility you use it well. Ensure that you get your work done at the right level of quality and even before it’s due.

Hope these few ideas help to effectively resolve a micromanaging work situation. 

Hector

Hector the Collector is a credit, collection, and human resources advice column by Nancy Seiverd President CMI Credit Mediators Inc. Your thoughts and comments (nseiverd@cmiweb.com) are most welcome!

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