top of page

How to avoid micromanagement

"But being controlling or not is on the boss, not the employee," you might say.

I disagree.

As an employee, you can get ahead of micromanagement proactively.

Disclaimer: I'm not a coach or management expert, I'm just a content marketing writer who's found ways to avoid micromanagement and wants to share! Please add your thoughts and further tips to the conversation.

Now that that's out of the way! Here's what I recommend to either avoid a micromanagement situation, or potentially to even retrain a micromanager:

  1. State your roadblocks. Your boss is busy. They want you to make their life easier. So, politely, tell them what you need! If you can share: "I need to do X and to get there, I need you to do Y and Z," then you've removed their need to spend time thinking about a solution for you. Plus, you can avoid awkward updates in which you explain why you haven't yet met your objectives, when prompted.

  2. Like a momma-bird, digest your updates first. If you manage your work via tickets in Jira, Zendesk, or across multiple platforms, you likely have a better hold on your workload than your boss. This is especially probable if they manage multiple people. Imagine how overwhelming it might be for them to check into all these links, track and measure your work, and know where to help. So send them updates with links to the ticket or proof of work, with a very high-level description of your advances, and a short mention of the status. For example: Project Gen Z Buyer Persona is delayed. Kate shared a draft buyer persona, pending research budget. I connected with Martin to request he advance the budget decision this week. This builds on the point that your boss is busy. Many bosses will appreciate your respect for their time and mental bandwidth!

  3. Track your work publicly. This means linking to what you're working on, updating the status, stating planned deadlines, tracking recent actions taken, etc. Then, put all this information in a document that your boss can see and share. This circumvents the "where are you on X marketing blog?" emails. Making your tracking publicly available might also save other teams calling you into a meeting to request an update on an article you're writing. None of us like being put on the spot in front of multiple superiors, after all!

  4. Offer reassurance, without condescension. When you get a where-are-you-on-that-project email, ask yourself whether you have shared this transparently. Consider whether your tracking format is easy to digest. Lastly, consider if that person simply needs reassurance that you're on track for the deadline. Then, try the latter first, indicating where you'll be adding updates when you have them.

While you can't always sidestep a micromanagement relationship, there is plenty you can do as an employee to avoid it. The major upside? These changes prepare you for senior positions, making you extremely promotable. These tips are tried-and-tested and work with managers who are micromanaging out of fear or lack of visibility in my experience.

Would you add any more tips? Share as a comment or drop Write Wiser a line!



bottom of page