You’re not my boss!

How to deal with your micromanaging coworker.

Every company has one. The micromanaging coworker. You know who we’re talking about. The one employee that has his hands in everything. He’s the go-to for all the questions you have. But also a bit of a control freak. Things that aren’t his job easily become his job, because he can’t let go. He checks up on your work and he’s always questioning what you’re doing. Sometimes, you might even start to wonder how he has time to do his own job when he’s spending so much time trying to do yours.

And here’s the worst part…You don’t even report to him!

Therein lies the dilemma. How do you keep your working relationship intact, yet still be firm enough to set your boundaries? It’s time to deal with your micromanaging coworker.

Ready. Start by readying yourself and your frame of mind. Are you angry with this person? If so, you need to put that aside. Try to put yourself in his shoes. Is he really trying to micromanage every aspect of your job? And does he even know he’s doing it? Think about it from a different perspective. Maybe he’s asking questions because they affect some part of his job that you’re unaware of. Be prepared for his reasons and rebuttals, and make sure you’re ready to listen with an open mind.

Set. Next, you have to set the stage for the conversation. You need to address this when it happens, yet you can’t do it when you’re frustrated. Choose a mutual location that feels safe to both of you. Nobody is under attack here. Set a specific time to meet with this person, and let him know what you’d like to discuss. You don’t have to come out and say, “You’re micromanaging me, let’s talk about it.” But you should clarify that the meeting is about confusion in your roles and responsibilities as a team.

Go. It’s go time. Start by affirming the person’s knowledge and expertise. And your appreciation for it. Next, lead into what behaviors you have been witnessing. Don’t blame, just state your experience. This person may not realize you’re feeling controlled or undervalued. Explain to the person that you’re capable of doing your job, and ask for clarity on what tasks you should touch base on. Make sure to let him know that you want him to be able to focus more on his high payoff activities, rather than tasks that you’re already handling. Validate his reasoning. Focus on specific actions and how they affect you. Stay firm, but be sure to demonstrate that you understand where he’s coming from. And at the end of all of this, make sure you restate the resolution you came to. It’s important that both parties are clear on the standard, and both are given the permission speak up when things happen outside of the way they were agreed upon.

These types of emotional conversations can be difficult. You’re both valued members of a team and you have to learn to work together, even when your personalities collide. Setting boundaries and expectations is crucial to being a high performing team. Are you ready?


Looking for more on common issues we experience? Check out #AskRevela!