Nearly everyone I know has dealt with bad bosses before. If you’re not one of them, consider yourself lucky — or delusional. 

Bad bosses come in all forms, sizes, and genders. I don’t buy into the “female bosses are the worst” mentality, because being a bad boss is a personality thing — your gender has nothing to do with it. My own experience came when I had a particularly micromanaging boss to deal with. 

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Perhaps I should count myself lucky that I went into the job knowing what to expect from him, thanks to stories from former employees. I thought that if I already knew what was going to happen, it would make dealing with it easier.

Yes, and no. 

His micromanaging ways appeared innocently enough, by texting me constantly and asking about updates with certain projects. While he understands that I was perfectly competent at my job, he also has a tendency to worry — especially when he’s not the one taking over the job. Eventually, his micromanaging tendencies grew until he should have called the project his own. It affected me professionally, as I didn’t have a project I could call my own and he would always take credit for it. I called him out several times on this, and he would relent at first. 

It’s not you, it’s them

Dealing with a micromanaging boss is simple in theory, but harder to execute. First, you need to let go of your ego and understand that it’s not a personal attack on you. Most times, it’s their own problem to deal with. Understanding that it’s not a personal attack on you makes it easier to do the job at hand and trust the process.

 

Set boundaries with bad bosses

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Next is drawing a clear line. It’s okay for your boss to offer advice, but once they begin invading your boundaries and taking over the project, it’s time to call them out on it. Most times, they may not even be aware that they were crossing boundaries, and calling them out on it lets them know. 

Keep bad bosses in the loop

If your boss is a classic micromanager and a major worrywart, there are ways to manage this. Part of the reason why they worry is because they’re not up to date with what’s happening, and there is a need for them to know. By constantly updating them on your progress, you will help keep them at bay. This is also where letting go of your ego comes in handy, because it helps to understand that it’s not you — it’s them. You are not incompetent, and keeping them in the loop with your progress doesn’t mean that you’re a child that needs babysitting. 

 

Know when to leave bad bosses

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If you find that managing your micromanaging boss is downright impossible because they just refuse to let you do your work, it’s probably time to move on to greener pastures. At this point, you’ve tried your best to make it work, but the relationship just isn’t working out. Know when your efforts are not recognised and look for a new job with hopefully a better boss.