How To Deal With An Overbearing Boss


Bosses can make your life smooth sailing, or a living nightmare. Unfortunately, micro-managing, overbearing bosses exist at every company - so running across them at some point during your career is probably inevitable. If you’re in the position where you’re working under an overbearing, micromanaging boss or manager, here are some tips!

Adjust The Way You Communicate

If you constantly find yourself getting irritated, or butting heads with your boss, check your communication style. Could it be possible that the way your communicating is making the situation worse? Is your boss more detailed oriented, or big picture thinker? Do they operate in a more aggressive or passive aggressive way? Try to tailor the way you communicate to match their personality.

Meanwhile, remember that how you say something and what you communicate with your body language must also correspond with the boss’s style. Make eye contact and lean forward to show engagement, but try not to take an overly aggressive posture.

Ask Strategic Questions

Polite and assertive questions are a great tool to crush barriers with overbearing bosses. If you work for a micro managing, task oriented boss who loves to pile on the work, try saying something like this: “Thank you for assigning me these projects. I’m also working on X, Y and Z. Because I won’t be able to get everything done today, how would you prioritize them?”

If you don't know where you stand with the boss or feel ignored, try asking for feedback on a project-by-project basis. It could be framed as: “How would you rate my performance on that project on a scale of one to 10? How could I get closer to 10 next time?”

Provide Frequent Updates

The reason bosses micromanage is because in some way, they have difficulty letting go of control. Sometimes the best way to fight fire is with fire! To counteract a micromanager, give them exactly what they’re looking for - without making them hover over your shoulder. Provided frequent updates on what your working on without making them ask and beat them to the punch. After some time, your boss will see that you’re so on top of your job that the feeling that they need to micromanaging may subside.

Establish Boundaries

It’s important to be assertive and set boundaries that will help you be successful. Don’t take their outbursts personally. If they’re freaking out, walk away and give them some time to calm down. If you’re not sure which “version” of your boss you’re going to get when you walk into the office. Try to help the boss understand their behavior by, politely, pointing out it out. For those managers who won’t leave you alone. Try pushing back a little in order to limit the interruptions. You can say something like, “It’s so nice talking to you, but is it okay if we connect a little later after I finish this project up? How’s 2:00pm?”

Anticipate The Requests

The trick to dealing with micromanagers is to get ahead of them by anticipating criticisms, and having well thought out responses. Basically, it means you have to wow them to the point that they feel comfortable taking a more hands-off approach. If this doesn't work however, it's probably time to reevaluate whether it's truly so important that you remain working with them.

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