Three times in recent years I’ve had to micromanage others. Though probably in the contrary form to what you would expect. Most people think of micromanagement as their manager wanting to know every detail about their day, and be involved in every minute task. In most cases this form of micromanagement is never received well. Generally my feelings are that if I have to micromanage you, you don’t belong in the role you’re in, though I suppose exception cases may exist.

But the form of micromanagement I’m talking about is upward management. This could be needed for a variety of reasons:

  • You’re being micromanaged already
  • You’re manager is feeling outside their comfort zone and obviously uncomfortable
  • You’re manager doesn’t understand the problem and maintains a distorted view
  • You’re working with someone outside of your domain and they don’t have experience in the area

While at least some of this if not all should be more directly addressed, in my experiences that process has historically been out of my control and a slower process. What I could could control was my ability to be provided adequate time to do my job effectively. In most of these cases the manager is going to want to be too involved or drive the process in a direction you wouldn’t like it to go. Micromanaging upwards, may seem like an unnecessary amount of work at first, but it’ll allow you much more time.

First it’s helpful to start with a regular process. Sending status emails every morning or every afternoon, will keep them in the loop. It’ll prevent them from asking too many questions, and will keep them in the loop, but mainly with knowledge you feel is pertinent.

Discussions and calls with insider info will allow them to feel as if they’re driving the process. If you provide information as factual and provide the facts of how certain things have historically worked, or do would at a tactical level from you’re experiences it will help to steer the process in that direction. If they’re outside they’re comfort zone they’re going to take their best guess, it’s 50-50 if that’s the same as you’d see fit.

But, do let them drive the process at hand. If they feel as if you’re attempting to drive it, then they’re going to feel as if they’re authority is being challenged. It’s more a kin to telling them the directions of how to get their and letting them drive the car. If they’re slightly off path, but in the right direction let it go because otherwise you’re time will be consumed with trying to get the exact directions.