Dear New Shrink,

I am a diligent and hardworking professional who consistently gets her job done. Unfortunately my boss is a micro-manager who monitors my every move, which makes my job harder and harder to do. Rather than just focusing on the projects I have been assigned, I instead have to have several meetings each day with my boss and am required to send multiple e-mails just to get one task accomplished. While I understand that each manager has a different leadership style, her approach is preventing me from being effective and responsive to my job requirements. We have been working together for three months, so perhaps it does take more time to get into a groove, but at this point I am considering other jobs because I simply cannot deal with her constant nagging, e-mails, phone calls, and overall anxious focus on my every move. Do you have any tips to help me deal?

Signed,

Micro-managed

Dear Micro-managed-

Adjusting to a new boss can take time, and a lot of patience. Each manager has a slightly different style for leading his or her team and some are better than others at managing the day-to-day aspects of their employees’ needs.

Often times we tend to manage others in the way that we like to be managed. It may be that your new boss likes a lot of structure, feedback, and a close-knit group. As a result she may be fostering an environment that allows her to feel comfortable, all while assuming that others enjoy a similar environment or management style.

Other times a micro-management style may indicate someone who likes a lot of control over the work that is produced by his or her team or feels the need to review each person’s work until team members prove that they are deserving of more independence.

Given that you have taken a few months to evaluate your new boss (and have attempted to adjust to her style), it might be a good time to discuss your experience. Keep in mind that such a discussion should happen at the appropriate time.

You might find it useful to reflect on how she reviews and processes other information and the type of situation she is most likely to feel comfortable so she can hear what you have to say. For instance, if you have regular one-on-one meetings it might be helpful to schedule time to discuss your work flow and ask for her assessment of your productivity. This may allow for you to start the discussion by mentioning your concern over workflow or results and informing her that you fear the changes in your workflow have kept your from being as productive as you have been in the past.

Keep in mind that if you come to a meeting to discuss an issue, you should also be prepared with a few suggestions or ideas on workflow, not ideas on what she should be doing differently or personal recommendations about her individual leadership. Consider sharing your ideal work situation or a flow that has worked well for you in the past. You might choose to mention strategies or structures that have resulted in increased performance or productivity as an example.

Keep the focus of your discussion on the positive and avoid listing issues, complaints, or recommendations about her personal style. Addressing this with professionalism and tact, and at the right time, may help break the cycle and bring about valuable and productive conversation.

If your ultimate goal is to gain back your independence, it is likely that you will need to build trust with your new boss. Adapting to her style and demonstrating that you are a diligent and hard-working team member may help her to step back and let you continue with your projects. Consider what steps you can take to make the most of her management style. For instance, if you are sending multiple e-mails about one step of the project, consider consolidating your questions and asking all questions in person, or if she prefers e-mail, consider merging all of the questions and steps into one message. Further, if the steps are similar for multiple projects, consider posing the question “can I apply this same strategy to all three projects”. This will allow you to move forward on other projects without having to check in on each specific assignment. Ultimately finding a way to blend your work style with her leadership style will allow you to achieve success. Good luck!

KATRINA DAVY, M.A., Ed.M, is a professional career counselor who has worked in university and private settings. She holds degrees from Cornell and Columbia universities. Visit her online at www.kdcareer.com. Send your questions to newshrink@gmail.com. All questions are kept anonymous; let us help you with your life matters!

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