5 Strategies to Handle a Controlling Manager…

A healthy work environment is essential for employee well-being and productivity. However, when a manager exhibits controlling behavior, it can create a toxic atmosphere that negatively impacts team dynamics and individual performance. In this article, we will explore five signs of a controlling manager and provide strategies on how employees can effectively handle such situations.


One of the most common signs of a controlling manager is excessive micromanagement. If your manager is constantly checking in on every detail of your work, demanding frequent updates, and making unnecessary adjustments, it may indicate a lack of trust. Micromanagement can stifle creativity and autonomy, leading to frustration among team members.

How to handle:

  • Communicate openly: Schedule regular check-ins to discuss progress and clarify expectations.
  • Establish trust: Demonstrate your competence and reliability to build your manager’s confidence in your abilities.
  • Provide updates: Proactively share updates on your projects to keep your manager informed and alleviate their need for constant oversight.

Lack of Delegation:

Controlling managers often struggle with delegating tasks and responsibilities. They may be unwilling to entrust team members with significant responsibilities, fearing a loss of control. This can lead to burnout for the manager and limit the professional growth of team members.

How to handle:

  • Showcase your skills: Demonstrate your capabilities by excelling in your current responsibilities.
  • Request additional responsibilities: Express your interest in taking on new challenges and ask for additional tasks.
  • Communicate effectively: Communicate your capacity and willingness to take on more responsibilities.

Unwillingness to Listen:

A controlling manager may exhibit a lack of interest in hearing the opinions and ideas of team members. This can hinder innovation and create an atmosphere where employees feel their input is undervalued.

How to handle:

  • Choose the right time: Find an appropriate time to share your thoughts and ideas with your manager.
  • Be assertive, not confrontational: Express your opinions confidently without being confrontational.
  • Provide solutions: Instead of just highlighting problems, offer constructive solutions to demonstrate your commitment to the team’s success.

Excessive Monitoring:

Constant monitoring through surveillance tools or overly strict rules can be a sign of a controlling manager. This behavior can create a sense of discomfort and erode trust within the team.

How to handle:

  • Seek clarification: Ask for clarification on the reasons behind excessive monitoring to understand your manager’s perspective.
  • Address concerns diplomatically: Express any discomfort with excessive monitoring professionally and constructively.
  • Suggest alternative approaches: Propose alternative methods of performance evaluation that focus on outcomes rather than constant surveillance.

Lack of Recognition:

Controlling managers may be reluctant to acknowledge the contributions of their team members. This lack of recognition can lead to demotivation and reduced job satisfaction.

How to handle:

  • Keep records of achievements: Maintain a record of your accomplishments and contributions to the team.
  • Advocate for recognition: Politely bring attention to your achievements during performance evaluations or team meetings.
  • Foster a culture of recognition: Encourage a positive and collaborative atmosphere within the team where everyone’s efforts are acknowledged.

Handling a controlling manager requires a delicate balance of communication, assertiveness, and diplomacy. By addressing these signs proactively and adopting effective strategies, employees can contribute to a healthier work environment and foster better collaboration within the team. If the situation persists, consider seeking support from human resources or other relevant channels to ensure a positive and productive workplace.