Dear Dr. Lisa:
I need your advice. My manager is a micro-manager. She is overbearing. If she comes by your desk and you are not there, she will want to know where you were. If you plan to meet with other leaders around the company, you have to tell her before doing so. If you don’t, and she finds out, you will pay for a long time. It’s as if there is nothing you can do to earn her trust, and she will not trust you. It gets exhausting after a time. There is no question about the work and she will be helpful in providing opportunities. But all of that comes with a cost because she holds the reins really tightly and I am about to choke out. What can I do?
Dear Suffocating Slowly:
Working with a micro-manager can be tough. The most important thing to know right from the beginning is that the manager’s need to know this information has only to do with the manager and not with you. Regardless of who is in the role, they would manage this way. That lets you know that it is her need to know and nothing you have done to destroy trust and bring on this level of scrutiny.
Unfortunately, there is no easy fix for this situation. My best advice is to get ahead of her. If you know she is going to want to know where you are if she passes your desk, then share your whereabouts before being asked. This at least puts the power back in your hands. It will not eliminate your feeling that this is a level of sharing that is not right. And it isn’t. The true fix on this lies within the person. There really is nothing you can do to change her. All you can do is be ahead of her, which might make you feel better for the short term. That won’t last and at some point, you will have to consider finding another role.
Get the most out of the role that you can. Leverage her goodness about finding good development assignments. Once you have done all you can do, find your next spot.
P.S. Your theme song is, “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell.