How To Influence Micromanagers So You Can Achieve Better Results

{ 👨‍💼 } – They want to feel important, so make them feel important

If you have been working for at least a year or two, chances are you have already met people who micromanage. These are the kind of person who, instead of giving guidance and advice, they give orders and dominate your work. Instead of giving suggestions, they dictate even to the smallest details. With them, it is easier to be a yes-man rather than trying to go above and beyond.

However, it’s not impossible to get along and enjoy working with micromanagers. But only if you know how to.

How to Work with Micromanagers

To find a solution, first, we have to understand the problem. How do micromanagers think? What are they trying to achieve my micromanaging? Why do they micromanage?

Based on my experience (and conversations) people who micromanage tend to try to show off or impress people. They want to look important, feel important, and be taken as an important person. That is why they want to make all the decisions and could not trust their peers — because they think they are more important than anyone else.

When things are going in the right direction, that’s their work, their decision, and their vision.

Micromanagers want the spotlight. They might be more of a narcissist than a manager. The key is to feed their ego: make them feel important.

1. Always Be Prepared with The Pros and Cons of A Choice

Let’s say you are working on a project which may have more than 1 possible solution. Instead of going with the option that you think would be the best solution, come up with a couple of options and explain the pros and cons.

By doing so, the manager will think that they had contributed by making a decision. In which you gave a huge influence to: by giving them a list of pros and cons.

You should also be prepared for the “weird ideas” that your manager might request. In my experience, practicing the conversation in my head and exploring all the possibilities helps a lot when having a discussion the micromanagers.

2. Frequent Feedback Loop

Tricking them to think that they’ve made the decision doesn’t mean that their input should be dismissed. You should still ask for feedback and talk to them as much as possible — don’t work in a silo. Inputs are always valuable.

Frequently asking for their feedback will help you understand what they want to see in a project. By doing this, you will be able to understand their logic behind a decision and use them to your advantage. In the future, you will also have a better relationship and respect each other more.

3. Earning Their Trust

This might be quite challenging at first. But you will start to earn their trust once you’ve done steps 1 and 2 on a daily basis. Make them enjoy working with you. Once you’ve done it, you can say goodbye to micromanagement.

The more you work together, the more you would talk to each other. Once both of you are connected on a personal level, it is easier to collaborate. Earn their trust to achieve better results.

4. If The Points Above Don’t Work

Well, you can do two things. Keep doing them, or stop giving a fuck. Most micromanagers are actually reasonable and a nice person at heart. They’re human beings too. While some others just aren’t worth your time. Learn to know the difference and just let it go. It’s just a job. Don’t stress yourself out.

The illusion of decision making

Remember, micromanagers want to feel important. So you have to make them think that they have made the decisions. By giving them a list of pros and cons, asking for their feedback frequently, and get to know them personally, you can drive the project in a way that you prefer. Influence them and you can achieve better results.

This article is based on the conversations I had with Ahmad Ghifari at 3AM in the morning.

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Briandito Priambodo / Product Designer @ Wego

Briandito is a designer, developer, and writer. Currently building products in Singapore and writing for his new project