Difficult Bosses in Medicine

The Micromanager

Scale of Frustration 90%

Scale of Potential Harm 20%

Likely to Be Up for a Chat 60%


The Micromanager is concerned about avoiding risks and problems with their patients. They tend to have problems trusting others to ensure that what needs to be done is done (problems with delegating). They can be a great source of frustration for an experienced trainee as, despite your best effort, the Micromanager always seems to be wanting you to check or confirm something.


For an experienced trainee, a Micromanager is often a headache and generally easy to recognize.  They don’t respond to the normal level of reassurance you give to other Bosses.  You may start to resent their presence as an annoyance on the Ward.



What if you are an Intern who hasn’t reached that level of feeling experienced enough to know what to do?

All of a sudden the Micromanage Boss becomes the Caring and Nurturing Boss. The Boss who goes the extra mile to make sure you have covered all the things that need to be done for the patient.


In order to understand the Micromanager Boss, you both need to understand yourself and your needs as a trainee. Try to understand the perspective of this Boss

In our example above it may very well be that our boss has had some very bad outcomes in past. This may have been through a failure to check certain things with patients. OR perhaps under pressure from their own bosses to ensure that some things are done in a certain way?


So one strategy for overcoming your difficulties with a Micromanager Boss might be to seek further information about the source of the insecurities. Perhaps you can engage with them directly? Perhaps a previous trainee or one of the experienced nursing staff can shed some insight. If you can learn about what makes your Boss anxious you can take steps to reduce this. For example, by presenting them with a personal report each day showing how you have checked all these important things. Show them you have their back!

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