If you've ever been under the thumb of a micromanager you know how soul-killing it can be. Take heart--there are effective ways to deal with control freaks. That's according to Ravin Gandhi co-founder of GMM Nonstick Coatings, a global supplier of nonstick coatings to the housewares industry, who's passionate about empowerment in the workplace. Here's his advice on how to handle a meddling boss.
1. Be proactive about giving updates.
Figure out which method of communication your boss prefers--email, text, phone or in-person--and always get a deadline of when a task needs to be done. Follow up a conversation with a written summary and beat your boss to the punch when it comes to updating him or her on a project's status. "All they want is over-communication, so give it to them before they ask," he says. "That way it doesn't seem like they are coming to you the whole time."
2. Prove you are capable.
Micromanagers are afraid to give up control but if you repeatedly perform well eventually they will let go of the reins. "Prove to them you're able to do your job well," he says. "After enough times they will trust you to do it on your own."
3. Make them look good.
It sounds backward, but it's a strategy which can't go wrong. "If you follow their rules and help them or the team be successful, when they are promoted you will follow," he says.
4. Ask for autonomy.
As part of the deal promise you will perform above and beyond your boss's expectations. Then follow through and do it. "Try to deal with their anxiety by saying "It's going to be OK. Trust me and give me a chance,'" he says. "But then you have to walk the walk."
5. Threaten to leave.
This is a last resort and you have to be willing to actually walk out the door if your boss calls your bluff. But if a micromanaging boss won't respond to your entreaties and proven history of stellar work, it may be time to go somewhere else. "The power in any negotiation comes from the ability to walk away from the table--that's where leverage comes from," he says. "So if you sit your boss down and in a very tactful way say 'If you continue to do this to meI'm going to have to leave because I'm miserable,' you'd better be willing to actually leave."