How to Get Your Boss to Stop Micro-Managing You

April 25, 2018

(Coming Soon)

Len Markidan

CMO at Podia

This SaaS marketing workshop is going to make your work life so much easier. It’s our recommendation for every marketer who’s ever been managed, or who will be managed in the future.

Today, we’re talking to Len Markidan, CMO at Podia and formerly Director of Marketing at Groove. Between those two companies and his own consulting work , he’s spent a lot of time reporting to managers. As a result, he’s familiar with the micro-management woes we all face—and he’s made it his mission to help them stop for good.

Honestly, we wish this workshop had existed 10 years ago. It’s a must-watch for anyone who has a manager, is a manager, or anyone whose work involves interacting with managers, period.

Len’s talk is a great part of our SaaS Marketing Workshop series. Here are the highlights from his talk:

Micro-management is a symptom, not the disease.

When your boss micro-manages you, it’s tempting to head to Google, and look online for ways to fix that habit. But Len suggests we should be thinking differently about micro-management itself.

“If we agree that micro-management is not the problem, but that a lack ofunderstanding about what's going on is the problem, then we can also agree that thesolution is not an email script. The solution, instead, is learning how to manage up.

In short, our bosses and managers are micro-managing us because they’re just not sure of what we’re doing day-to-day. So if we can make it our job to manage their expectations and be consistent in our own work, we’ll stop our boss’s micro-managing impulse before it starts.

It all comes down to ownership (of more than just your to-do list).

We’ve talked about the value of ownership before, and how important it is to take responsibility for your results. But Len says we should take it to another level if we want to eliminate micro-management.

The way he tells it, it’s about owning everything you’re responsible for, not just the individual items on your to-do list:

“Micro-ownership versus macro-ownership. They're both important but most marketers actually only do one. Micro-ownership is when you own your to-do list. Macro-ownership is when you own something bigger than your to-do list. So, owning the marketing Trello board does not equal owning marketing.”

In essence, macro-ownership means we’re taking control of the actions we take, and the results they produce. The act of taking that control will lead us to more accountability, which will lead to less micro-management.

Need an example? Here’s the one Len uses:

“[Macro-ownership is] not, ‘Hey, next week we're going to publish a blog post about online courses.’ No, that's micro-ownership. That's owning the task of creating a blog post.Macro-ownership is, ‘Next week we're going to publish a blog post about online courses. Since organic traffic and getting it to 15% month over month growth is our key metric this quarter, we've done some research and we think that having some really good content around online courses is getting a lot of back lines [and] will help us get that target. So, next week we're going to publish this post then I'm going to do a bunch of email outreach to try to get us backlinks.’ ”

Send updates on your progress.

But how do we start that accountability? Len’s solution is to update your boss on what you’re doing, probably way more than you are already:

“Number one, send daily and weekly updates. That might sound like a lot but it's actually not at all. The daily updates should take you less than sixty seconds to put together. Weekly updates really should take you less than five minutes to put together. If you can spend sixty seconds a day to write an update that will avoid five interruptions a day, that math easily works out in your favor.

Don’t worry about annoying your bosses with repeated emails. It’s actually more helpful to give many smaller updates rather than leave your boss to wonder how things are going (and prompt them to micro-manage).

You don’t have to invent a new channel of communication in order to communicate regularly with your boss. It’s more important to reach your boss on their own terms, as Len describes here:

“The updates you send have to be in your boss’s channel. You have to make it easy for them to stay in the loop. If they can stay in the loop, they're not going to micro-manage you.

But how to convey that you don’t need urgent help? Len’s solution is to add two short words to the beginning of your message: “Just FYI.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

This is another irrational fear we all need to stop listening to. It’s not weakness to ask for help. We don’t look bad to our bosses—we’re showing macro-ownership.As Len puts it,

“This one is also really, really underutilized by in-house marketers. They think if you ask for opinions, if you ask for help, you don't look like you know what you're doing. Here's the thing, your boss is actually really smart. They're a smart person and they probably know a lot about your market, about your business, about your competitors. They might actually have some really good ideas when you're figuring out what it is that you're going to be doing next.”

So don’t worry about looking like you don’t know anything when you ask for help from your boss. If they hired you, they know that’s not the case. Gathering ideas from within the company is the smart thing to do if you’re working in a company of smart people.

We hope you get as much out of this workshop as we did. We meant it when we said that we’d like to send this to every marketer we’ve worked with or plan to work with. Micro-managing can be prevented if we change how we think about it.

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Len Markidan

Len Markidan is the CMO of Podia, a platform for creators to sell online courses, membership sites and digital downloads. Previously, he was Head of Marketing for 5 years at Groove, where he helped grow the business from $0 to over $500K in monthly revenue with content marketing. Len has consulted for clients like Prudential, Chegg,, Groupon, Healthline and more. and his work has been featured in Forbes and Entrepreneur. Len writes a weekly newsletter for his Inner Circle, and you can find him on Twitter at @LenMarkidan.

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