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Advice needed: Dealing with a micromanager

The VP I report to is an extreme micromanager...the latest example is they sent me an email around 10:00 PM last night asking me to put a quote together for a client. That is no big deal that is my job, also not a big deal is the slack message I received this morning at asking if I had put the quote together.


Where I get frustrated is when I told them that the quote was done and sent per their request, they said "Ok, you need to let me know this stuff so I do not have to hunt you down and ask in the future."


I take issue with this because I was asked to do something within the scope of my job, and I did it. I am not a child, I do not need to be checked on every 5 minutes to make sure I am doing what I am paid to do. There has not been an instance where I have not completed a task or not done something when I have been asked.....This includes things outside of the scope of my role that I have been willing to take on...This is not the only thing this particular VP has done to display their tendency to micromanage people, but I am getting sick of it.


Would love some advice on how to have a conversation with them about their apparent trust issues.

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36
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
Learn to stop caring so much. Seriously.

If you did your job, don't respond or react. If they push back, ask them to give you an example of when you didn't do what you were supposed to do. 

Leave that shit on "read".
InQ5WeTrust
Arsonist
+8
Sales Savages, what is our profession? Trauma!
Back this - don't give them a reaction that could be used to paint you in a bad light. Just get it done and leave it in the rearview. 
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Very true, just leave it short and respectful and move on
GameOfPhones
Valued Contributor
+5
Account Manager
I actually like this approach a lot, it is like when you were a kid not letting the bully get a rise out of you vibe.
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
So true that!
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
This is the key to all things sales 
beermoney
Politicker
+4
SDR
Had a micromanager that did similar to OP's VP

Used to reply to every eyeroll inducing ask with a "thumbs up" message response on Teams and keep it rollin 
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
Love it. I would use 🤘 tho because lolz
Show 2 more replies
Kaddy
Success Guide
Love that!
Ace
Arsonist
+9
CEO
When something like this happens at a work place, it is coming from a place of distrust. That manager has been lied to many times and he/she tries to compensate that by micro managing. 

The best way to diffuse a situation like this is by connecting your actions to candor. On your next 1 on 1 with him, bring this up and let them know how you feel - Back it up with the data that you have followed up with clients on both the times when you were and not told to do it. And going forward you'd be able to give your best when you are left to work on your own. You can assure them that you'll loop them in all the important events of the deal but it'd be unproductive for both to be looped in on every step of the way.

This way, you're diffusing the situation using empathy and understanding along with next steps. Cut out the uncertainty and watch them leave you alone. Hope this works :)
Incognito
WR Officer
+11
Master of Disaster
This is absolutely how I roll with everyone. Full transparency and disclosure. 

However, its a lot of labor for something that really isn't your (our) problem. Also, not everyone responds well to being proved wrong. 
Ace
Arsonist
+9
CEO
True, you'll have to play this knowing the sense of receiving criticism or even a mutual way out for that matter
Show 2 more replies
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+11
Needer of Life Alert
Set boundaries. Don't respond during your quiet times. 

You are doing your job and completing work. These kind of people manage by fear and will take take take. Respect yourself. Take care of you. 
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
Yes 100%. You have to take care of yourself to perform anyway. I do my best to never open slack between 8PM and 7AM
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Couldn't have said it better
Hudsonsmom
Opinionated
+2
Area Sales Manager
THIS 100%
Sandbagger31
Contributor
+3
Key Accounts Manager
this is tough, my best advice is a 1 on 1 level set. let the boss know that its not the best way for You to be managed but you want to earn the respect to not be checked on so much. Sometimes it can be a really productive meeting. 
Wolfof7thStreet
Opinionated
+5
AE
This is good advice, depending on the boss to some extent. I think that most bosses would like this/respect you more for it, but a subset would probably get offended at you "speaking back" or whatever
eman
Politicker
+2
Account Executive
Hit them between the eyes. Ask "do you not trust me?"  and if they say "no" or another form of "no" ask "why?"!
ChiefGreef45
Catalyst
+5
Account Executive
I have brought this up with a past manager, and he back-tracked saying this was me bringing it up and that he was mentioning the things I was doing wrong. Red flag for me
LordOfWar
Politicker
+7
Director
BCC them on all the little bullshit emails and tasks, they will hate the clutter in their inbox and you can then slowly ween them off with "I didn't want to bother you with the little stuff since you're so busy" BS.
MsTech
Opinionated
+6
Business Development Executive
This might not be a popular response, but it just sounds like the VP is disconnected from the process. Did your outbound quote tag him/her when you sent to the client? A simple slack message "done" would let them know you completed and delivered the quote. 
GameOfPhones
Valued Contributor
+5
Account Manager
I tend to CC them on everything related to what they have asked me to do except quotes, and I did not on this particular quote.

That is on me. I have also been told by higher ups that I do not need to CC any VP's on anything related to my territory as long as I update salesforce, which I did update.
MsTech
Opinionated
+6
Business Development Executive
Working with higher ups is a challenge, it seems like a continuously moving target. But I find that the more you communicate, the better it goes. They need to be "told" about everything, and definitely don't like to go hunting for things... In this case, since you have an open line to the VP, why not leverage that for showcasing your talents and skills? Follow up with "Hey, I  sent that quote out, sounds like you were pitching a midnight sale, did we get the deal?"

Telehealth_2the_Moon
Notable Contributor
+12
Director of Business Development
First be sure to take a step back and consider that they are making themselves miserable by acting like that. That stress level you see on your projects with them is the same stress level they are likely giving everything. 

Second, this can be a great time to hit them with the ol' Innocent Question. Ex. "It seems like I should have approached the task differently, how should I do it so that next time it goes smoother?"

Make them fix the problem they invented. You'll be surprised how often people will reconsider what they are pissed about when they have to spend more time on it than just sending a snarking email or making a comment like that.  

Just be sure to ask it verbally, video/in person is even better, since miserable people can turn it into a sarcastic question if they get the opportunity to project whatever tone they want while reading it.
ju
justatopproducer
Opinionated
+2
National Consultant
I too have experience with the ultimate micromanager boss currently. In my experience I’ve asked for your situation how would you like me to follow up with you if not through the same way you contacted me? (Via email) 
technology is great but if you email, and they call, and then you Skype/Webex message, and they text, etc things get lost. Don’t get upset but ask candidly if you can have a go to means to communicate for important matters as such. 

Next time the same thing happens look at your boss and say “email man... email” 
my boss now laughs. I typically noticed they are trying to do too many things and more than likely have way too much on their plates. 
GameOfPhones
Valued Contributor
+5
Account Manager
I completely agree with using the same medium of communication every time, this is a habit I have formed with my prospects, if I booked them for a first call on email, I let them call me but every other time I communicate with them is via that first medium. If it works with my prospects, I guess it should work the same with my boss.
canary
Praised Answer
+1
CRO
On a higher level, you said "There has not been an instance where I have not completed a task or not done something when I have been asked" - which suggests that the VP isn't commenting on your work, or your day-to-day isn't creating this situation.

In my experience, >50% of how managers act comes from their own issues, rather than a reaction to what you've done. My suggestion is to spend time analysing why the VP is acting this way - are they meeting their goals? are their initiatives working? how do they prefer to work with their team?

Adjusting your work based on the above understanding ("empathy") can go a long way.
PIPboy69
Catalyst
+3
CSM
I have a micromanager that I report to directly and she was doing the same thing. I started spamming her with emails and messages, like over messaging her on every little thing. 

I bugged her so much she called me and asked that I "give her time to get to it"

Since that nice talk we had, we've found a way to make it work.

Just give them a taste of their own medicine, it might not work for everyone but it worked for me!
 
Tres
Politicker
+6
Account Executive
This is the worst! I'm in a similar situation, would love to see what people come up with. 
GameOfPhones
Valued Contributor
+5
Account Manager
It is extremely frustrating and disrespectful in my opinion, I have tried having conversations with this VP and nothing is ever resolved. I have noticed that they treat a lot of other people in the office this way too.
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
I would have a real problem with this. My response wouldn't be great. The others have better advice for you in this thread, but man micromanaging is probably my biggest pet peeve.
CaneWolf
Politicker
+12
Call me what you want, just sign the damn contract
Plenty of us have had to deal with it. It's tough. The VP relationship is a direct report one, right? Rather than starting with "hey, this isn't working for me," I would start with asking him where he thinks the gap is. See what his explanation is and then explain why he's making it hard to do your job effectively.
GameOfPhones
Valued Contributor
+5
Account Manager
Correct it is a direct report relationship. We are small enough I even have direct communication with the company President and SVP of sales.
goose
Politicker
+11
Sales Executive
Log it in SalesForce.  
sktech
Old School Bravo
Sr. Account Executive
Confirm or Quit.

After you have completed the task, just send a quick note saying "done!"  or quit and find a new job.  I've been through this a few times and there is no way around it.
GameOfPhones
Valued Contributor
+5
Account Manager
Quitting is not really an option in my mind, my company took a chance on hiring me full time after seeing what I did as a 1099, technically I am not "qualified" for my position based on previous experience. 

I am blowing my numbers out of the water and I also really like everyone else I interact with other than this one particular VP. So I guess I am going with confirm.
sktech
Old School Bravo
Sr. Account Executive
Micromanagers are counterproductive, but trust me, a quick confirmation will keep him/her off of your back for the most part.  Good luck!!
Show 1 more replies
The_Sales_Badger
Notorious Answer
+6
Account Executive
Play the game.  Make him feel relevant and important.  Make him a friend vs. an enemy.  Perhaps he has something he could teach you, and vice-versa.  

Micromanagers are that way because he's being pushed harder than you are, I can almost guarantee.  Best you form an alliance and appease everyone with results.  
Txtechsales
Sales Director
I agree with Incognito... learn not to care so much. It's just a job and if you died tomorrow, they'd replace you before your body turned cold. 

I'm a super laid back director stuck between very productive reps whom I trust and a micro-managing VP. If this issue bothers you that much, my advice would be to speak to your direct manager, if there's a level between you and the VP. If not, go straight to the source. Let them know that you take great pride in doing your job well and you always want to be to go-to when something important comes up. That said, it is de-motivating to believe that your supervisor thinks you need to be checked up on and you'd appreciate a little more latitude to fulfill your duties without strict oversight. Then it's on you to deliver and not give them a reason to hunt you down later.  
WenWest15
Praised Answer
+3
Principal Business Development Manager
1:1 to check on communication expectations. Clearly this leader doesn't trust people to do what is asked, and I'd ask plainly where that is coming from when it comes to you. Can't manage with a stick and expect people to want to play. 
1nbatopshotfan
Politicker
+5
Senior Director, Enterprise Technology
Fight fire with fire. They want to micromanage, ramp it up. Copy them on everything. They’ll get sick of the emails and back off. 
CreateNSell
Contributor
+1
Business Developer
Based on what you wrote about his answer to you, I think you can anticipate his move. If he is saying "i don't want to ask you about things I asked you the night before" just write a simple text message saying: "it's done. Here is the link where you can find it" when you finish a task you were asked to.

I believe by now you know what he likes and what he doesn't, what he askes and what he doesn't. Simply writes him before he asks, show him you solved the problem and there is no need for further questions.
CCP
Opinionated
+6
VP, Business Development
I had a manager like this early in my career. What worked for me was managing up. This is basically overcommunicating what you're doing/working on. Eventually most people will stop you and say "all good, I trust you." Because trust is what's at issue. If they don't come around to trust you when you're doing a good job, go do a good job elsewhere. 80% of people leave managers, not jobs. 
Kaddy
Success Guide
May be he's one of those managers who can only prove their worth by doing this crap. I'd say you do you, don't give a damn. What's the worse that could happen? Reprimand you for doing your job well?
TheHypnotist
Opinionated
+2
Sales Manager
You could try overwhelming him with emails, voice memos, and messages regarding every single task you have performed. My guess is he will soon get fed up with that and ask you to stop.
Dr.Sales
Executive
Proactively update the VP in all that you do. This tactic serves two purposes. 1) constant updates removes the need for three VP to follow-up with you 2) Builds trust with the micro manager, which eventually will lead to less micro-managing. Research supports micro-managing is embedded in lack of trust. Good luck!
sammyslayer
Good Citizen
Senior AE
@GameOfPhones just like when we're selling to prospects, you gotta know your audience. Play the game. Take the emotions out of it and CC your VP on everything you think they would find value in or could call you out on. CYA goes a long way, but could also make you look like the #SalesSlayer that you are!
Ashing
Fire Starter
Senior Account Executive
There are several assumptions that have to be taken before advice can be applied. And assumptions are landmines of sadness and anger.

First off, you seem very self aware, so your self assessment that you don't need to be micro managed is likely accurate, but let's not assume. Do an email search outside of interactions with that VP for conversations/tasks. Do other people often cc lots of people into your email threads? Do lots of people want multiple sets of eyes on you and your work is it just this one VP?

Then let's remove the assumption that this is just a "you" thing. Does this guy manage a whole bunch of other people that suck and need micro managing, and it's just easier to micro-manage as a rule of thumb for all? 

Ok so we get the assumptions out of the way and now we take your question at face value. Option 1 is to manage upward. if you KNOW this guy is a micro-manager and wants confirmations of confirmations of confirmations, send them before he has to ask. He's giving you a clear KPI to crush and look like a rock star, so get ahead of the wave.

If you absolutely think this issue needs to be addressed, a couple of things

 - Pick neutral ground. Don't have the meeting in his office, your office, or the boardroom. Go for lunch or better yet breakfast before the workday starts.

 - Start by setting the parameters of the conversation of you wanting to do the very best job possible, to do all you can to succeed and get him what he needs. This frames the conversation as a collaboration and not a confrontation.

 - Crush your quota. If things go sour, make sure there is nothing he can point at, and his arguments don't hold water.

Micro managers suck, but if the dude's a VP he got there somehow, so come at this delicately.  
capitano
Old School Bravo
Sales Leader
Trust is built on effective communication and managing expectations. If your boss asked for an urgent quote (I hope it was if it's at 10 pm) they should give you a timeline for when they need it. If they don't, it's absolutely your job to ask otherwise you're accountable for something you're not sure you can do. And it's the same on the follow-up. If they wanted to be informed, say it. Otherwise a simple,  "Hey sounds like this is urgent, would it be helpful to let you know when it's done?". Small tweaks in communication solve huge problems.
Austin
Celebrated Contributor
+6
Founder - ** ***
Life is short. Micro managers gon Micro manage. If you kill it in your role... you’ll keep moving up and beyond the roadblocks like this micromanager. 

Keep doing you, bruh!
Rigeyyy
Opinionated
+1
Account Executive
I would label it! Just like you would with a prospect for an issue they have label what’s happening and see what the vp says. If the vp cares about keeping good reps he/she will take the time to have a crucial conversation. 
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