Manager Is a Control Freak

If your manager is a control freak, Initially, it will seem that your manager is just trying to keep a tab on things, making sure that your tasks are rechecked, everything passes his/ her watchful eyes, etc. But, as time passes the control freak managers micro-management  style may be trying to get to you. It will be more of an intrusion, and eventually you realise that your manager is actually a control freak. Since they are harping about every little thing, cutting slack is the last thing you want to do. But continuing with this attitude is not going to be easy either. What can you do in such scenarios?

Help understand/ manage their insecurities

Have you tried evaluating the behaviour of your manager? Is it because their senior/ supervisor is actually micro-managing everything which is resulting in an inherent fear —- thus making them act like control freaks? Could it be something more personal or a problem at home? A sensible alternative here would be trying to stay proactive. Assure them of your ability to make minimal mistakes. Once your manager sees this ability, it is likely that he/she will stop intruding less. You can also try talking to them and saying things like “consider it done” which reassures them.

Don’t argue

Arguing or counteractive behaviour might cause more harm than good. So don’t rebel or aggressively oppose their talks, it would likely have an adverse reaction for you. Rather than letting it hurt your ego, think of ways that you can optimise the situation. Try to learn and absorb the tips and agree where appropriate. This can help you to win their confidence.

Scrutinise your performance

Have you tried evaluating your performance? Is it just you whom your boss or manager is controlling, or are there other colleagues who are suffering the same? It is best that you try to scrutinise your performance first if you’re the only one who feels that they are being controlled. Is it possible that you are actually underperforming or does your manager feel that you are? If that seems to be the case, then it is time to up the ante. You can also try approaching your manager for feedback. Do they feel that you are underperforming? Rather than sitting back, it makes more sense to take a proactive approach.

Initiate a long-term plan

Focus on the future rather than just thinking about the present. You can make some long-term plans to drive the business plan/ roadmap. Provide them with examples of projects or tasks that you have undertaken in the past so that your strengths are brought into focus. Doing so will show that you are willing to take more initiatives and responsibilities. This, in turn, could help minimise the control-freak behaviour of your boss.

But do remember that there is a difference between being a control freak and going over the top. Your manager should not come across as abusive or trying to impose too much. For example, if he/she is making too many personal remarks or trying to show you in a negative light, it implies more of a grudge than controlling behaviour. Evaluate the situation and then think of the next step. While managing control-freaks is one thing, handling abusive or very dominating managers is a whole different game. In case of the latter, you should talk to your HR or senior managers.

Jappreet Sethi

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Jappreet Sethi
Jappreet Sethi, CEO and founder of HexGn, stands out as a strategic human resource management and entrepreneurial mentorship expert. Under his leadership, HexGn, known for its dynamic community of serial entrepreneurs and industry experts, has trained over 5000 entrepreneurs from 20+ countries, reinforcing its global impact in entrepreneurial education. Sethi’s extensive experience includes strategic government projects, developing e-commerce strategies, and authoring white papers on technology in internal security. His international workshops have spanned 15 countries, aiding participants and clients in raising investments. His tenure as head of People and Process Consulting at Jones Lang LaSalle India and his role on JLL's global Diversity board reflect his deep understanding of organizational dynamics and transformative change. A certified facilitator with an impressive track record in leadership development, Sethi’s expertise in process management is evident in his achievements as a Six Sigma Black Belt and master lean practitioner. He’s also a visiting faculty member at leading institutes, a prominent speaker, and the founder and lead editor of the acclaimed HR blog, Recognized as a top HR influencer, Sethi's unique blend of strategic HR expertise, global mentorship, and organizational transformation insight makes him an invaluable asset in guiding companies through growth and innovation.


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