How does it feel to have a boss who is a micromanager?
It could feel like having a giant pesky creature that is constantly breathing down on your neck.
According to the National Library of Medicine, micromanagement is useful only for short-term situations. But overall, this management style is costly since it results in high staff turnover, reduction of productivity, low employee morale, and patient dissatisfaction.
In fact, micromanagement is one of three major reasons why employees resign.
In the story, OP (original poster) succeeded in turning the table on his new boss, who is passionate about micromanaging everyone, especially him.
OP wrote, “I worked as a tech support for a global insurance company with three big letters. Our old manager retired, cool guy, not a micromanager. We get this new one who was, right away very confrontational, he was a my way or the highway kind of guy, even when we explained the bureaucracy of our company and processes. For whatever reason he had it in for me, went as far as make comments in front of everybody about replacing me.”
A dreadful boss, indeed.
OP continues his story by relating a story about one of their employee review meetings, where the micromanager said he was getting complaints about OP “not smiling enough.” OP felt the criticism was unfair and inaccurate, since he is a likable person with a good sense of humor, which customers and his co-workers appreciate about him.
Nevertheless, he decided to follow the new manager’s instruction who showed him how to “smile properly.”
But what OP actually did was smile in such a creepy manner, just like Joker.
“People asked me what was wrong, and ” always answered ‘Following an employee review, I was instructed to smile more, so I’m smiling.’ I was doing this for like a couple of days, and after an interaction providing support for Human Resources, with the smile and explanation, I went back to my desk, couple of minutes later I see HR lady go to my boss’s office, they were there for like half an hour. After she leaves, boss calls me in, and tells me I don’t have to smile anymore.”
He answered him back with a bit of sarcasm, asking if he really had to stop. And the new boss just looked at him before dismissing him.
A year later, the micromanager was gone.
Many Reddit users share similar experiences in their comments, relieved that OP was able to gain the upper hand through “malicious compliance.”
A Reddit user wrote, “I hated when people told me to smile more when I worked at my night shift coffee drive thru. One guy said ‘you know, if you smile more, you’ll get better tips.’ At the time I was going to college during the day, freshly lost my mother to cancer, and working nights full time. I replied with, ‘you know, you should say that to your wife and have her make your coffee then.’ He never said anything about me smiling again, and he started tipping the night shift staff.”
Another individual shared a dreadful experience: “Godddd so one of my old jobs gave mirrors to the technical support team as a reminder that they should be smiling while on calls (no video, it was literally about ‘you’ll have a better tone with the customer’).”
This Reddit commenter also made a lot of sense: “Here’s a tip: never tell a person to smile. Heck, try brightening someone’s day if you want them to smile.”