I had two different managers in a large corporation who both achieved their management positions by first being effective individual contributors. They were star players who were naturally recognized by senior management as great examples to lead a team.
It was a good call. Both performed very well as managers and replaced themselves with other players, teaching them to do things they used to do. But just because they were able to coach, didn’t mean they enjoyed it at the same level as when they played “on the field.” And sometimes… what felt like micro-managing was really just a frustrated desire to come off the sideline and play again.
In both situations, my solution as a team member was to go ahead and let them play a bit. I would invite them to creative brainstorming sessions and editing reviews, and listened to how they communicated with internal clients. I knew I could still learn something from them, even if I was fully capable of trial and error on my own.
If they started to take over too much, I had an honest conversation and asked them to let me take the wheel again. The key is the open and honest communication.
Try this, “I appreciate all the input because I know how important the outcome is for this project. Would you mind if I stepped up to lead now so the learning really sticks for me? I’ll keep you in the loop.”
Copping an attitude or complaining to peers is never productive. If your manager is micro-managing, talk to them about it… directly and privately.
I had these two similar situations in my recent career, so maybe it has been a challenge for you too. Have you ever had a frustrated manager that got too much into your business because they missed playing? How did you resolve it?