I loved this client. She was funny, understanding, had great humor, we got along well, liked each other… But something wasn’t right – she didn’t leave me alone! For every task she gave me I received daily emails asking about the state. She was driving me bonkers… I felt like a schoolgirl whose homework was checked every 30 minutes.

After working together for about 2 months I took my heart into my hands and wrote her an email saying we needed to talk. And talk we did. She knew she was micro-managing me and admitted as much. We discussed what would work for her, and what would work for me, while we were building our relationship. At the end of our call, we had reached a clear understanding on how we were both going to proceed.

By being open in voicing my concerns, and by the client being open to honest communication, I learned to understand that her micro-managing had nothing to do with me as a person; or with the quality of my work – it just was a habit for her. She learned why I had difficulty handling her constant mails asking for a  status update. Over the next while, every time she asked for a progress report, I just sent her a big “smiley” – that was our agreement. It took not even 2 months and the issue was solved… And we had found a fun way to deal with her micro-managing mode.

This was the first such conversation I ever had with a client. Believe me, I was shaking all over and could hardly get the words out…

In the end, we both knew that our relationship had become much stronger by our willingness to have open and honest conversation, even though it was uncomfortable at the time.

Do you know a micro-manager, or are you one? How do you – and the people around one – deal with this?