Most people don’t get to choose their boss. You get moved into a job to help a manger and you soon realize just why everyone else has jumped ship – You now have a bosszilla! Yikes. But there are some techniques you can use to defuse the situation before a problem develops.
1. Confirm Confirm Confirm. Your boss asks you to do something, and you think you know what they want. Later, when you present your work to them, they see you as incapable and way off target. So, up front, when bosszilla is delegating your task, confirm everything that he requests. “So let me make sure I follow you, you want this information, in this amount of time, in this format, correct? Before I head out, what roadblocks do you see me running into?”

Once you get started on the task, before spending lots of time, just walk it past her for a minute to confirm that you are indeed, producing the desired output.

2. When you start working with a new boss, don’t assume you know how he operates. Every boss is different. Some bosses want updates every second, some once a week. The biggest reason some bosses micro-manage is because they want something in a particular way that they feel comfortable with. You don’t know what that is, so she looks over your shoulder every 5 minutes to make sure it is up to her standards. To defuse this, ask your boss up front, exactly what they want it to look like. Confirm, and re-confirm.

3. If you want to hit the jackpot with a new bosszilla, day one ask him for a one hour meeting- alone. Ask him every question you can think of about what they want you to do – Reporting format, time keeping, suggestions, level of detail he wants to see and most important, WHAT DO YOU THINK MY JOB IS? You and your boss may have a totally different understanding of why you are there. The boss thinks you are there just as a pair of hands for a project, and you thought you were supposed be the project manager. One other important question, what is the objective of this department? Why do we exist? What are your goals for this year? Believe it or not, you probably won’t get an answer, because he hasn’t really thought about it. “We are the accounting department, we take care of the books!” Really, and how does that help get the product to the customer? It shows the boss you really want to do a good job, and want to know the underlying department philosophy. A boss that knows his people are well informed and has a good understanding of WHY they are needed usually finds peace in his department.
Training a boss is hard, but it can be done.