How to avoid being micromanaged as a project manager

You’re working on a project that you’re quite enjoying, but there’s just one thing that is beginning to make the project a little less enjoyable. You’re being constantly asked about where you’re up to with the smallest tasks within your project. The culprit? Your direct manageer.

When you work for someone who constantly micromanages your it can be draining. Nobody likes to work for someone who is continually scrutinising their work and checking to see exactly where they are up to. It isn’t just that micromanaging behaviour can be annoying it can also be very detrimental to your professional growth. It is important that you tackle any issues with micromanaging as soon as you can in order to ensure that you are allowed to do your job to the fullest without the added stress that comes from having someone constantly checking up on you.

Approach the situation

Whilst your initial thoughts may be to shy away from any discussion about the situation, if you don’t try and discuss it, there is little chance of the situation improving. Approach the situation with a professional manner, there is a good chance that the person who is micromanaging is unaware of what they are doing – or at least the extent to which they are doing it. They may believe that are helping with their behaviour. Talk to them, explain that you are capable of doing the job you have been brought in to do and that they can trust you to bring any issues to them where necessary.

Understand their worries

Often a person who is micromanaging you is doing so because of insecurities. These might be for a variety of reasons but as the project manager it is important that you try and get to the bottom of them; there are usually a number of things that you can do to help alleviate any concerns that might exist. Whilst your project management training might have recommended reporting your project status on a weekly basis you might find increasing this to a more frequent level will help. Having regular one-to-one meetings with your manager can also give them an opportunity to put their concerns forward and ask any questions they might have.

Build up trust

The most difficult thing to deal with when it comes to being micromanaged is the sense that your boss doesn’t trust you enough to do the job you have been employed for. You might have attended lots of project management courses, worked on a number of successful projects and built up a wealth of experience – enough to get you the job in the first place – and still, it seems that the person who has employed you doesn’t trust you. Trust is something that needs to be built up so discuss the plan for your project with your boss, set targets and report back on them. When these targets and deadlines are met, hopefully, the trust will begin to build and this should help the person micromanaging you to take a step back, allowing you to get on with delivering a successful project.


Julie Lord

I have a Masters degree in PPE (UK) and now research and write as a freelancer on a variety of subjects such as personal finance, home improvements and work-life balance.

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