Originally my sixth category of difficult person was going to be the martyr. (You can see my original list here.) But I’ve decided that martyrs are just “yes people” writ large (and a little more dysfunctional).
So I’ve decided the final category will be “micromanagers.”
Now micromanagers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are simply anxious and need to hover a bit to make sure everything’s going to be done on schedule and according to the rules. (I actually don’t mind this kind of micromanager.)
Others are power mongers who really get off on telling other people what to do (and how to do it). Others simply haven’t learned to delegate.
As such, their behavior ranges from nervous, “how’s it going” e-mails to flat-out demands for proof that your project is going to come in on time and a strong emphasis on process over product. Some micromanagers also tend to bury their employees in work — often made-up work — just to be sure no one’s slacking off. These latter behaviors tend to imply that you’re not trustworthy, capable, or honest — never a good way to build morale in the workplace.
If you can’t get away from a micromanager, you can cope in these three primary ways:
- Reassure them that your task will be done on time and to spec.
- Pre-empt their concerns by regularly reporting on your progress and ETA — without being asked.
- Prioritize your workload by checking in with the MM about what’s due when. This allows you to keep a sane, healthy work pace, as opposed to getting swamped by the MM’s neurotic ways.
Next Up: Lessons Learned from Difficult People