Do you have an overbearing boss who makes you want to scream, “Enough already! Leave me alone!”? Doing your best work when someone scrutinizes your every move can be challenging. Before losing your cool or sending out resumes, however, try some of these ideas.
Here are four ways for flexible workers to deal with an overbearing boss:
1. Build trust
Some managers are especially “hard” on telecommuters. Without constant monitoring, they fear remote workers will take advantage of the situation and not produce work that’s up to par. These bosses act like detectives trying to catch you doing something wrong or drill sergeants demanding proof of your worth.
But for flexible arrangements to truly thrive, trust must exist. Do your part to build trust as a remote worker through honesty and responsible behavior. Meet deadlines. Be in your home office during the times you’re supposed to be working. Maintain a quiet environment. Stay organized. Ask for help or clarification when needed. And above all, meet or exceed expectations. Results speak volumes.
2. Communicate consistently
Beat an overzealous boss to the punch by providing a regular stream of communication. When you’ve already provided a list of priorities for the day and a breakdown of important projects before your manager has even had their morning coffee, they may realize you’ve got matters under control and not bother picking up the phone.
Provide status updates at your convenience throughout the day to confirm you’re on track and discourage interruptions.
3. Have a straight-forward conversation
If the pestering continues, you may need to address the issue. Schedule a time to video chat or talk on the phone—you’ll want a platform that allows conversation. Talk about how you want to do your job as effectively as possible and that you feel productivity could rise if given more autonomy.
Provide concrete examples, such as specific instances of being interrupted when you were on a roll. Ask if there is something about your current or past performance that is causing this close monitoring. Demonstrating a desire to work well together as an efficient team often gets you farther than accusing someone of being an intrusive pest.
4. Remain professional
Finally, remember that the last thing you need to do is give an overbearing boss more reason to monitor your behavior. Avoid trashing them to coworkers. Stay calm in the face of scrutiny. Be as consistent and drama-free as possible. Hopefully, their behavior will improve over time.
If it doesn’t, taking the high road puts you in a better position should you choose to talk with their supervisor or pursue other employment.
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