How to handle micromanagers in the mining industry


Do you work for a micromanager? It can be really demoralising. If you’re being micromanaged, here’s what to do.

Do you have a manager who constantly checks in, asks what you’re up to, and generally makes you feel like they don’t trust you to do your job?

Nobody likes to be micromanaged. It’s demoralising and demotivating and can result in a high turnover of staff and – ironically – poorer performance levels. 

Yet so many managers do it!

Before we look at some potential solutions you might consider to make micromanagement stop, let’s take a quick look at why it happens.

The causes of micromanagement

The underlying cause of most micromanagement is fear. As this Forbes article explains, this fear can manifest in a number of ways.

  • It can be about a loss of control, where the micromanager feels they are not contributing to the day-to-day achievements of the team
  • It can be because the micromanager has been promoted and they feel they’re no longer seen as a high achiever (which is what earned them the promotion)
  • And, of course, there are also the narcissistic micromanagers, who simply like making life hell. (In that case, run!)

What to do if you’re being micromanaged

There are ways to work with a micromanager that don’t involve finding a new job.

Start by identifying possible reasons for the person’s micromanagement, then consider what options those reasons present for handling it in a positive way that will bring about change.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to start a conversation with your manager.

Start by assessing your own performance

This is perhaps the hardest part but, first, critically assess whether you are actually meeting the performance requirements of your job.

Even if you’re underperforming, micromanagement isn’t the solution. So, if your assessment indicates you need to improve your performance, this can be the basis of your conversation with your boss.

In this situation, you might ask for more training or ask to be paired with a mentor. Something that indicates you’re aware of the problem and actively seeking to improve. That should encourage the micromanager to take a step back.

Ask why your manager checks in so much

In almost every company, employees are aware of the day-to-day targets that need to be met to ensure the business is profitable.

However, there may be occasions when mid-level management and operations personnel are not aware of the bigger picture. Check what pressure your manager might be under to achieve KPIs. It might well be the cause of their micromanagement.

Don’t take it personally

Identify which of your manager’s actions make you feel you are being micromanaged and then determine what level of management, direction or interaction would work better for you. What could you do to improve the situation? What would you like to see your manager do?

Have the conversation

Once you have identified the possible reasons you’re being micromanaged and have developed some strategies, set up a time to meet with your manager to discuss them. Explain that you want to improve your performance and would like their involvement. In other words, put a positive spin on it!

Sometimes a manager does not realise they are perceived as a micromanager, and for most people it will come as a complete surprise. You need to be honest and have ideas for ways you can both improve your interactions and provide each other with feedback. Explain that their actions are detrimental to the team’s output and that you want to work with them to ensure everyone is productive and efficient.

Identify a way forward

Set up some guidelines for how to progress. Would a scheduled meeting on a regular basis work, rather than a consistent check-in? How will you communicate with one another? In a roster scenario, emails or shared files can work, but the key is finding a middle ground that works for both of you.

Be respectful and professional

Remember, your manager probably has no idea they are considered a micromanager. Their perception of you may also differ from what you think it is (so be prepared for that). However, it is important that you remain respectful and open in your conversations and focus on improvement and growth.

Prove you don’t need micromanaged

The proof will be in how well everyone proceeds after you’ve had the big chat. Stick to the guidelines and hold your manager to account in meeting their end of the agreement. It will demonstrate your willingness to work towards a positive outcome and will ultimately result in a manager who begins to lose the fear that resulted in them becoming a micromanager.

Micromanaging is frustrating for the employee, the team, the micromanager and the business. Being receptive, proactive, positive and open to change is a must for all parties.


But if, ultimately, you decide it’s time to look for a new mining job, then MPI can help. We’ve been mining industry recruitment specialists for nearly thirty years. Register with us, here, and let us help you find the right job.

Dan Hatch
Mining People International