When you hear his footsteps, you’re filled with dread. You just know your overbearing boss is on his way to ask you if you’ve finished that report yet.
He’ll no doubt have six or seven things he needs to add to it, only extending the completion time further.
That won’t matter, though, because he’ll check back in before going to lunch to ask how it’s coming along.
Micromanagement comes in many forms, but it usually comes from a place of a controlling personality, mistrust in workers, or a dangerous combination of both.
The problem with micromanagement is that it destroys morale, increases turnover, and leads bosses to feel overworked and overstressed.
Instead of focusing on bringing in new business or creating a winning business plan, a micromanager spends his time lording over a group of employees who feel stifled.
If you’re forced to deal with a micromanaging boss, all hope is not lost. There are a few things you can do to take control of your own work area. These tips may not be effective in all cases, but they’re worth a try when searching for a new job is the only other option.
Understand the behavior
The problem with micromanaging is that sometimes it’s absolutely necessary. If an employee is new on the job or has a history of missed deadlines and error-filled work, a boss may feel the need to stand over the employee.
However, in many more cases, a boss simply has trouble letting go of control over projects and assignments. Instead of focusing on the outcome, the boss focuses on the processes used to arrive at the outcome. Understanding the reason for this behavior can sometimes be key to finding a way around it.
Fill her schedule
A busy boss has little time to micromanage. If you have the ability to fill her schedule, do so. This could include providing a list of potential clients she could call on or giving her something to review on a daily basis.
Be proactive when you know she’ll be asking for information on an assignment and offer daily status reports for her to review each morning. That will allow you to concentrate on your work while she’s in his office scrutinizing your update.
Show you can be trusted
In some instances, employees have been able to overcome micromanagement by building trust with their bosses. If a project is due Thursday, turn it in Tuesday and make sure it’s in perfect shape when it arrives.
If you’re asked to show up at a certain time for a meeting, arrive a few minutes early. When you consistently go above and beyond, some micromanagers will eventually begin to trust you.
Ask for more freedom
When all other efforts fail, as they sometimes do, as a last resort you can speak to your manager and try to come up with a way you can work together in harmony. Request that he focus on the missions, goals, and objectives of various projects instead of the process you use to complete them.
Then prove, over time, that your method gets the same, if not better, end result as his. If he still resists, ask him to give you the chance to prove that you can achieve the desired outcome using the steps you’ve already outlined as the best.
In some cases, the only way to get away from a micromanaging boss is to find a new one. But if you enjoy everything else about the job, it might be worth a try to see if you can find a way to work together without driving each other crazy.
John Boitnott is a journalist and digital consultant who has worked at TV, newspapers, radio and internet companies in the U.S. for 20 years. He’s an advisor at Startup Grind and has written for NBC, Fast Company, Inc. magazine, Entrepreneur, USA Today, and VentureBeat, among others.
This article originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com