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How to Gain Independence from Your Boss

Sometimes you need to micromanage a micromanaging boss.

By
Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #383

Sometimes your boss is just too involved in your day-to-day work.boss micromanage

Listener Noam writes in:

I feel like I need approval on almost everything that I do! It is slowing me down and that I’m bothering my boss too much. I don’t want to be a burden—quite the opposite! I want to make their life easier. Do you have any tips on how to be more independent in my situation and bother my boss less. 

Noam, it sounds to me like this just isn’t working. You’re an employee who is taking up a lot of your boss’s time, and yet, you want to reduce the time you’re taking, still do a good job, deliver results, and make your boss’s life easier in the process. All while depriving your boss of the joy of micromanaging you and inappropriately wasting your time. What’s your boss going to do with all that free time? Drink? Do you really want to be responsible for this person’s gradual descent into alcoholism, despair, and an early death from psoriasis of the liver?

You’re far better than that. Do your current boss a favor and quit right now. Then come work for me. If you beg, I might be willing to let you do a good job and make my company successful without needing me to spend all my time supervising you.

Your Boss Wants This

Noam, you are any sane employer’s biggest dream. You just might not realize it. You may be thinking, deep down inside, that if your boss is involved in every detail, it has to be this way. Nope. Now that you’re out of school, for better or worse, you have to drive the bus if you want it to get anywhere.

It’s perfectly OK for you to decide how you want to work, and negotiate that with your boss. Chances are that you’re holding yourself back for fear of overstepping your bounds. I hereby officially give you permission to overstep these bounds, and give yourself permission going forward.

Now that you have permission, you should probably make sure your boss buys in to the whole idea. It’s time to negotiate.

Negotiate with Your Boss

Go to your boss and say, “I would like to make your job easier, get results for you faster, and accelerate my own professional development at the same time. I can do this if I can work on my own more, and not bother you with every decision. Let’s map out which decisions I can make on my own, and have me take ownership of those.”

If your boss responds poorly, just throw yourself on the ground, grovel, and kiss your boss’s shoes. Then blame me. “This dumb podcaster told me to have this conversation. I’m sorry! I’ll never rise above my station again!!!” Then start looking for another job, because your boss is a jerk.

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About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.