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Insights: How to Deal with a Micromanaging Boss

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Submitted by: WISE Boston member | 15+ years professional experience

My supervisor and his boss micromanage and will communicate directly with my junior team members on minute details that are already being addressed. They aren't deliberately undermining me, but rather seemingly can't help themselves. The communications come out of left field and confuse my team members. I have brought this up several times as tactfully as possible to no avail. How can I reassure my team members that the communications aren't a negative reflection of their performance without blaming my bosses or making them look bad? I’m really stuck in the middle.


If your supervisor and his boss are going around you and directly to your team for information, then that could indicate that you aren’t providing enough of what they need in terms of data. Have you been more direct with your supervisor and asked, “How can I provide you with better updates on projects because I sense you aren’t hearing what you need in a timely manner and my team is confused as to whom and how they should be providing updates?” This allows your supervisor to then say, “Please provide me with X more frequently.”

With regards to managing your team members and their exposure to questions moving forward, if the communications are just random questions that happen infrequently, then there isn’t much to do other than have them provide what your supervisor and his boss want. If the communications are constant, then it’s something you need to address with your bosses directly to find out what you aren’t providing them with that is causing this behavior.

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Jane Hollman

About Jane Hollman

Jane Hollman has more than 25 years experience in senior human resources roles at large multinationals and sports across Asia Pacific and the United States. Currently a career coach, she helps business leaders and university students think through their career paths. Hollman is passionate about creating flexible, innovative work places and mentors women looking to start their own businesses. She is also a freelance writer covering the business of sports for publications such as Women Talking Sports.

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