10 Phrases That Will Help You Handle a Micromanaging Boss 

If your boss is a micromanager—the kind who wants to maintain as much control over you as they can—you know how frustrating and irritating it is. It’s possible, though, to take back some control—and these phrases can help you make that happen. Use them to start an effective dialogue that can result in more autonomy and less micromanagement:

I’m going to do everything in my power to make you look good. If you tell your boss you want to make them look good, there is no reason for them to hound you. Accustomed to resistance, most micromanagers will be glad to hear something positive.

Your success is important to me. Feed the ego of your micromanager and let them know their success matters to you. Their controlling tendencies are likely to ease if they believe your mind is on them—as they want it to be.

Tell me how you like the work to be done. You may be able to circumvent a hovering micromanager by getting all the information up front. It will help you do the job you are supposed to do while also meeting their expectations.

I will do an excellent job for you. When you reassure a micromanager about the quality of your work and show them that excellence is important to you, you may be able to put their perfectionist mind at peace.

I know you want to help me succeed. Disarming a micromanager is important, and labeling their negative action into something positive may have them agreeing with you. Thank them and let them know you appreciate their investment. The recognition will make them feel good about themselves and it may help them give you some peace.

I value your guidance. This is another way of disarming the micromanager with a positive twist. If you acknowledge their counsel, you may be able to persuade them that you will come to them when you need them.

You sometimes know things about the situation that I don’t. This phrase feeds the micromanager’s ego and lets them know that you acknowledge their higher position and that you’ll check in when you need to know more.

All the hovering, adjustments and changes are affecting my productivity. If nothing else is getting through, tell the truth and be straightforward. Leaders are measured by how much their team achieves. They know that productivity issues reflect poorly on them.

I am going to show you how I do it on my own. Give the micromanager a rest by walking them through your own processes, showing them your competence and care.

I am always open to your feedback. Holding yourself open for your micromanager to teach, guide, and mentor can help keep your work relationship on the plane where it belongs.

A leader who’s constantly looking over their employees’ shoulders can inspire a lot of second-guessing and paranoia, and ultimately ends up running away their most talented people. To stop the micromanager—or at least get them out of your hair—try each of these approaches in turn until the situation is under control.

Lead From Within: Most people don’t take well to being micromanaged because it leads to a loss of control and autonomy. But there are steps you can take before you decide to leave.


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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

2 Responses to “10 Phrases That Will Help You Handle a Micromanaging Boss ”

  1. asianwomanleadership

    06. Sep, 2019

    Enjoyable article, thanks for sharing.

    Reply to this comment

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