Good Client Relations 12: Micro Managers

good client relations micro managers

Continuing our theme of bad habits some clients have, we are going to be talking about micro-managers.

Devils of Detail

Micro-managers are one of the more painful types of clients to deal with, these are people who dwell over every single detail. They often want multiple updates on EXACTLY what you’ve been doing and many many rounds of changes.

Clarity is King

Any relationship takes time to build trust and certainly I can see when hiring a new person it is complete common sense to spell every thing out so there can be no mistakes of what needs to be done. The issue with micro-management is that it dents your confidence, it means it can take twice as long to do the actual job and in extreme cases you feel more like puppet than a professional.


There are a number of things that motivate a micro-manager. It could be that you haven’t built up trust yet and that will only happen over time. It might be that they feel they have to get involved because they feel that unless they do it no one will. It could be that they simply don’t know any better.

Don’t fuel the fire

You have to do your bit to try and cut out the micro-managing and this means going above and beyond, always meeting deadlines, keeping the client in the loop. Give them absolutely no reason to doubt you. Try and remind them of your past success and that fact that you are professional to reassure them you don’t need their hand up your arse.

Separate Yourself

Where possible keep yourself at a distance. Don’t agree to work from their office. Not even to ‘pop in’ so you can make changes together. You have to make it clear you’re not their employee and you have other clients on your plate. Often I find these types of client are only used to dealing with staff with whom they have oversight over, and maybe are not used to the idea of an outsider helping, so be sure to try where possible to educate them.

If you choose to continue to do work with a micro-manager and nothing changes then it would be wise to bill them more as these projects often take longer through process. As with everything try your best to educate, ensure they understand the process and if all else fails…get another client!