If your boss hovers around your desk like a helicopter, changing the way you interact may keep him away from your cubicle.
Because they’re unsure which employees require diligent oversight, managers new to their roles often supervise subordinates closely. In the absence of trust, they tend to manage everyone carefully, which can grate on the nerves of experienced workers. Since relationships are a two-way street, changing the nature of your association can be the difference between autonomous bliss and over-managed misery.
Use these techniques to instill trust in your relationship and keep your boss in his own office.
- Provide frequent updates: Take a proactive approach by voluntarily providing your boss with frequent progress reports. This technique will allow you to control when you interact with him, while demonstrating your trustworthiness. Gradually lengthen the time between your reports, until you’ve successfully retrained your boss. A savvy manager will soon turn their attention to other issues and employees, once they know they can count on you.
- Schedule meetings: You don’t want to seem rude, or miss opportunities to bond with your boss, but if he has a tendency to stop by unannounced and stays too long like a tardy houseguest, tell him you’re not prepared to have a meaningful discussion and ask if you can update him in the morning. Scheduled meetings over a defined agenda are likely to be shorter than impromptu sessions. Before you conclude, ask when he needs the next update and schedule a convenient time. Knowing when he’ll receive your next report will put him at ease and dissuade him from looking over your shoulder during the interim.
- Offer subtle hints: Leaning forward in your seat, or sitting on the edge of your chair, will convey a sense of urgency. If you stand up when he enters your cube, it will discourage him from settling into a chair. In extreme cases, remove extra chairs from your cubicle or fill them with papers, which will keep any visitor from staying too long.
— Leslie Stevens-Huffman