Dear HR Manager from Under a Microscope

Dear HR Manager from Under a Microscope

Dear HR Manager,

I have a new supervisor, and he is a grade “A” micromanager. He proofs every single one of my client emails, tracks my arrival and departure times, and doesn’t let me make even minor decisions on my projects. As a result, I am starting to second-guess whether this is the right job for me. I loved my job before and want to get the spring back in my step. What should I do?

– Under a Microscope

Dear Under a Microscope,

I hear your frustration and applaud you for reaching out for help. I think your best step is to share feedback with this new manager. This will allow you to share your perspective and see how you can work together to better your relationship. You will want to be thoughtful so take some time to prepare.

I recommend these three tips:

1. Prioritize your areas of concern.

Instead of approaching with a laundry list of complaints, I recommend considering the top three areas you would like to discuss. One strategy? Choose the issues that have the most significant impact on your day-to-day work.

2. Use “I” statements.

Instead of pointing out flaws, tell your manager how situations negatively affect your work. Use impact language, such as “I am more productive when…” or “The environment I need to be successful is…”. Ask for what you need. It sounds like autonomy on your projects is at the top of your list.

3. Set your boundaries.

Your experience thus far shows that your manager wants to be involved. Use your burgeoning leadership skills to set regular check-ins and proactively “invite” him into your work ahead of time. Managing up in this format gives you control over the timing and frequency of his involvement.

I hope this conversation is the start of a new working relationship. Remember, it is easy to fall back on old habits. So, you may need to reinforce your concerns in a future conversation. Work relationships take time and commitment to build, just like personal connections.

– HR Manager

Originally featured in UBA’s June 2022 HR Elements Newsletter.


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