I work in education. Our line manager is fair and approachable; they have bucket loads of corporate knowledge and have been a manager at this organisation for well over a decade.

Recently a change in hierarchy has led to a senior member of the organisation being installed above that manager, who has since been marginalised and sidelined. I am cognisant that our processes can improve, but the way it is all managed is very micro. We are no longer treated like adults with (considerable) abilities.

What is the best way to handle a micromanager?

Illustration by John ShakespeareCredit:


When leaders see a problem, of course they should attempt to fix it – in fact, they’re really duty-bound to do so. But they also have a responsibility to make sure their response is proportional.

This change in structure may well have been done in good faith, with the hope of improving processes, but it sounds like it’s gone too far. When you push an experienced, well-respected manager to the periphery of an organisation and in their place install a micromanager, you’re just going to exacerbate the problem or (at best) replace one problem with another.

I asked Professor Karin Sanders from the School of Management and Governance at the University of New South Wales how she views your situation.

“This is a difficult and challenging one. The COVID pandemic has taught us that micromanagement is not needed (and not sustainable during the time that we were all working from home),” she said. “Managers can trust employees that do their work even when it is not in the office and not between 9am and 5pm.”

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