08 February 2024 |

📓 tackling tough talks

By Hebba Youssef

✍🏽 How can I tell my boss that they are micro manager without offending them?

Context: My boss is a relatively junior manager

📣 Jessie Fields, Director of Talent Development & DEI at C2FO:

First, go back and read Monday’s IHIH newsletter because Hebba gives perfect advice here on managing up!

Keep in mind that managers micro-manage for a handful of reasons: 1. they’re control freaks and don’t know how to let go, let god; 2. they don’t trust you to get the job done; or 3. they’re new to management (like in your case), and don’t know how to do it any better yet.

Some ideas for you to try:

  1. Give proactive project updates. Beat that micro-manager to the punch by  telling them what they need to know before they even ask. Show them that you’re on top of it!
  2. Tell them how you feel. Try saying things along the lines of, “When you ask for X, it makes me feel like you don’t trust that I can handle it.” or “I spent a lot of time on X. When you change what I’ve done, it feels like I’ve missed the mark and I don’t understand why.”
  3. Ask clarifying questions like, “What does good look like to you?” or “What are your concerns about what I’ve done so far?”
  4. Set mutual expectations. Voice the type of support you prefer from your manager, and be sure to ask what you can expect from them as well.
  5. And then document it all! That way, when your manager butts in, you can remind them of the conversations you’ve had so far and the expectations that have been set.

I hope these tips and “micro-scripts” help lead to more understanding between you and your manager and ultimately build up trust! Good luck, friend.

✍🏽 What do I do if I don’t trust my direct supervisor who also continuously disrespects the rest of the HR team with no consequences?

Context: 300 employees, Architecture Firm with supposed culture of transparency and work hard/play hard. HR team is small and my boss is the Head of HR who reports to the CEO. She has recently been promoted despite most who know her acknowledging she is NOT a culture fit/nice person (usually this is very important at this company). Verbally and via email will be overtly rude and puts down her team rather than builds them up. She has also stolen an idea that I brought from a new employee 6 months ago that she dismissed as a waste of time but was presented as her big accomplishment to start our 2024 year after she took the same idea and ran with it after presenting it to the CEO. She is the type known to hold a grudge and I am scared of retaliation if I say this to the wrong person.

📣 Dana Whiteaker, Career Coach at Grateful Culture:
You’re in a tough spot based on the words you used.

You mentioned you don’t trust your direct supervisor and you believe they disrespect the rest of the HR team.

It sounds like you may not share the same core values and that alone could make you butt heads down the road…

My advice: You need to decide if you can deal with the current treatment. It doesn’t sound like this person will be going away anytime soon and you need to determine if you can continue working under someone like that.

No matter how well you try communicating or seeking advice from someone else within the company, you have to keep in mind how this person operates and might react.

Sending you positive vibes

📣 Ilona Jurkiewicz, President, Americas at Cappfinity:

This is a difficult situation. I think at the core it’s about deciding whether you want to “fight the good fight” here, or move on and find a better environment. If you do decide to try to tackle this, I recommend a few things:

  • Speak frankly to her with courage and care. Sometimes the biggest bully’s don’t know how they impact others, and a courageous conversation can change them, and the shadow they cast. The outcome of that conversation may clarify quite quickly if you want to stick around, so it could be a situation of “you have nothing to lose.”
  • Find a way to speak to the CEO. I recognize this is VERY tricky, but if you feel like the CEO truly believes in creating a strong work environment you could ask them to start watching for signals and behaviors from the Head of HR so they could coach and manage the person more closely.
  • Propose some kind of development opportunity for the full team that she participates in which allows anonymous feedback from the broader group (if the numbers make sense, etc). This created a structured way for you (and others) to get feedback and see if that helps.

Stay strong, and take care of your mental health. This is a tough situation!