How to Deal with a Macromanaging Boss

Illustration of a male manager sitting at his desk and two confused female employees

It’s no secret that working under a boss who has adopted an extreme leadership style can be difficult. Whether they always hover over you or seem to have not a care in the world, completing your daily workload seems much more difficult in such situations.

Put simply, a macromanaging boss will trust their employees to complete their tasks as they see fit and expect them to handle issues on their own. The opposite of a micromanaging boss, a manager like this is more willing to deal with overarching plans and their results, rather than the daily tasks needing to be undertaken. While the macromanagement style has both its strengths and weaknesses, we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to help you better cope with this management style.

1. Discuss Your Ideas with Both Your Manager and Your Coworkers

Though it may sound obvious, talking to your boss is an excellent first step toward improving your relationship with a macromanaging superior.

For those adopting a macromanagement style of leadership, such managers will not become involved with the day-to-day aspects of their employees’ work lives. Because of this, it becomes your responsibility to run by your ideas and thoughts regarding assigned projects not only with your manager but also your coworkers.

In doing this, you are striving toward making a positive change in the workplace. Discussing goals and innovative thoughts help foster a sense of creativity and unity in an otherwise divided and unstructured environment.

2. Clarify Instructions with Your Boss Before Starting a Project

By speaking to your boss, you can clarify any potential instruction you may have found overly vague. In doing this, you’re taking preventative measures to avoid completing an assignment incorrectly.

The ambition to ask for additional information where it may otherwise be unclear, as well as briefly explaining and getting approval on how you plan to finish the tasks, is essential. It also aids in building your confidence in the project going forward.

Experiencing a lack of guidance initiates a sense of self-doubt, potentially causing a subpar finished product and an unhappy manager.

3. Request Regular Meetings to Help You Stay on Track

Requesting regular meetings, on a minimum monthly basis, is an excellent way of countering the effects of poor management. These can be done either over a video conferencing call or face-to-face.

During these meetings, you can ask for feedback on the assignments you have finished (including discussing how they were completed), review what you are working on at that moment in time, and talk about what your next projects are for the immediate future.

Though you must deal with a macromanaging boss, you can more easily cope by following feasible tips such as this.

4. Adopt a Personal Leadership Role

Though a complete lack of leadership skills and no desire to rectify the dilemma are signs of a bad boss, this unfortunate circumstance does not have to be detrimental to you.

In a situation such as this, you can adopt a personal leadership role. This could be ‘managing’ yourself and the projects explicitly assigned to you or overseeing a group of individuals and helping to better guide one another as a team set on reaching a common goal.

It is no secret that providing yourself with an enhanced sense of direction will help to improve the handling of your assigned workload. Sometimes, you must undertake such responsibilities when it is necessary!

5. Send Your Superior Regular Email Updates

As a preventative measure to avoid future confusion, keep track of the work you’ve completed each day in a notebook. You can reference the list, should anyone have questions — either your boss or coworkers — and provide notes on what it is that you undertook and accomplished at a given time. Not only does this prevent anyone from passing the blame for their mistakes onto you, but it also helps keep track of your achievements.

Taking this one step further, send weekly email updates to your manager to keep them in the loop of your work. You can summarise your weekly notebook additions in a quick email and send it on its way.

One of your manager’s weaknesses, their lack of involvement, can actually be beneficial to you in this situation.

6. Stay on Track by Setting Measurable Goals

To better help you deal with increasing your productivity at work, set realistic, measurable goals in list form to stay on track.

Giving yourself precise tasks to complete within a given timeframe enables you to better plan your day and work through it in a timely, organised manner.

A macromanager tends to step back from most situations (aside from potentially offering an end goal and possibly a vague outline of how to accomplish it). Because of this, you must determine the steps to reach the said objective on your own.

7. Set Realistic Expectations for Your Workload

With an overall deficiency in assignment expectations, it may become difficult to handle your workload. For some, the lack of instruction resulting from macromanagement can cause confusion, disarray and, ultimately, an incompletion of projects.

To actively counter these unfavourable circumstances, set realistic expectations for your workload. A simple list outlining what needs completion, and how you plan to finalise them, allows for a less stressful approach. This way, you have a clear plan and an end goal in sight.

8. Review Your Own Work to Ensure it’s Adequately Completed

When it comes to dealing with a macromanaging boss, one of the crucial tips to keep yourself focused is the regular reviewal of your work. Ensuring that you are adequately completing projects in compliance with whatever expectations — if any — that were outlined to you, is necessary. Consequently, you will have the proper pieces in place to move closer towards the result.

In ensuring that the smaller elements of the assignment are accomplished, the ‘big picture’ will become all the more apparent.

9. Handle Conflict in Your Work Environment

Unfortunately, no professional environment is invincible to issues arising among its staff members.

When the problems are small and manageable among yourselves, first attempt to take matters into your own hands and address the situation. Speak calmly and rationally with those involved in the conflict and make a note of what is causing concern.

Once the root of the problems is established, collectively brainstorm how you can solve and overcome the dispute.

10. Make Your Superior Aware of Major Issues that Arise in the Workplace

Though you and your coworkers can do your very best to avoid conflict in the workplace, ongoing dilemmas may still occur. If, for whatever reason, the issue persists or worsens, inform your manager and provide any necessary details that they will need to handle the situation.

Because a superior with a macromanagement style of leadership tends to avoid involvement with their employees, they will likely be unaware of such issues until someone comes forward with the problem.

As made evident with the points above, you don’t have to resort to requesting a new manager at work to solve issues related to a macromanaging superior. Indeed, adhering to the 10 simple steps in this list are crucial ways to stay on track. It doesn’t have to be a secret — anyone can do it!

How would you handle a micromanagement situation? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.