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7 Types of Workplace Bullies: The Micro-Manager

This is the third profile installment of a seven-part series. The subsequent pieces will introduce the profile of a workplace bully, the tactics they employ and your superpower to help overcome workplace conflict. These profiles are inspired by Meredith Fuller's "Working with Bitches."


The superhero motif is used in the series because workers can serve as the heroes of their own stories. A good building block to create workplace dignity is to first develop your own powers for defense, advocacy and empowerment. As employees and activists, tapping into unique power and taking on an alter ego when necessary can help you advocate, build power and fight the forces of evil encountered in the workplace.

The Micro-Manager

Behavior: The Micro-Manager can be an actual manager or simply a coworker. Regardless of their title, the Micro-Manager with be CEO of Control. Expecting everyone to work extremely hard, the Micro-Manager often sets unrealistic expectations for their team’s work and gets frustrated when those goals aren’t met. The Micro-Manager is known for to be highly critical and hates having to be flexible or change the rules. The rules are set and must ALWAYS be abided by in the Micro-Manager’s world.

Superpower: The Micro-Manager’s Superpower is the power of control. They enjoy telling people what to do and often set goals that they know will not be met. This leads to a work environment high in stress, feelings of inadequacy and undermining of legitimate expertise and authority beyond the Micro-Manager.

Your Super Superpower: Excellence! One of the best ways to cope with the Micro-Manager is to play the role of reassurance. Keep your peace of mind and keep theirs as well. Send the Micro-Manager steady updates and keep the conversations open about the progress of work. As hard is it might be, providing Micro-Managers with steady updates will equip them with knowledge, hopefully answering their questions before they have a chance to ask them. Forbes contributor, Lisa Quast explains that: "the key to surviving a micromanager is to determine a mutually agreed upon balance between the need for information and your need for freedom." Quast recommends finding out the level of recommendation and method of communication that your manager prefers; in addition to setting mutual timelines, goals, objectives and projects. When everyone is communicating and on board, it decreases your chances of being a target.

You may need to take a different avenue when the Micro-Manager is your equal in title and responsibilities. If you work in a team setting, remember that there is power in numbers; aligning yourself with other members of the team will remind the Micro-Manager that they are also part of a team. Micro-Managers may try to act the boss; remind them that they are on an even playing field. It may even help to remind the Micro-Manager that while excellence is everyone's goal on the team; unless they are contributing to the work instead of critique, their contribution is slowing the team down. If matters don't improve, try to reach out to your supervisor and explain the situation.

Find other types of workplace bullies here & learn about harnessing your workplace power:


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