Dear Orna: I have been in my current position at my company for over three years, but my new boss micro-manager my every move. How can I get her to stop?
~Signed: Stop Stalking Me!
Dear 'Stop Stalking Me': I feel your pain. A micro-manager can be very frustrating, but you have to remember that your (micro)-manager is your boss, so you don't want to antagonize her. Here is your dose of reality: if your manager is micro-managing you, she obviously feels uncomfortable about something - even if it has nothing to do with you.
Managing your micro-manager is simple! All you have to do is figure out what she wants, or needs, to feel more comfortable with you, and then, give it to her! This is the only way you can win.
Whether she is micro-managing you because she's new and wants to understand her own role better, or like you, she is simply a control freak -- don't fight it. Give her what she wants. Every time you do anything, simply keep her in the loop. Tell her, show her or invite her to your next meeting. In other words, micro-manage her back!
Take a Lesson from Jerry Seinfeld
Remember the Jerry Seinfeld episode when he was annoyed by Elaine's "close-talker boyfriend?" This guy spoke a little too close to Jerry's face, especially when he was excited. Ironically, when Jerry would pull back, the close-talker would get even closer. (This is just like your micro-manager boss.) Jerry finally discovered the secret to getting the "close-talker" to ease off. Jerry became a "closer-talker" and put his face even closer. The boyfriend had enough, and pulled back.
So try this with your boss. Give her more than she needs. Pass along extra information. Include her in all conversations and meetings. Send her early copies of your reports.
She'll Stop When She's Fulfilled
When you give your boss more information, more details, more reports and more feedback than she needs or wants, she'll finally ease up. At this point, she'll probably tell you that you don't need to pass everything by her any more. I guarantee, she'll pull back once you over-whelm her with details.
What If She's Never Satisfied?
If your boss continues to micro-manage you no matter how much you include her and pass along additional information, you can either accept it or look for another job. She's the boss, so you have to adjust. If you go in for battle, you will likely lose the war. Stop the drama. Focus on getting excellent results. That's what matters most.