Dealing With Micromanagement

project manager
Type: Case Studies
Originally published on February 5, 2023 and last updated on May 8, 2023

Engage your ESL students in a case study conversation about a project manager who is facing challenges in the workplace, specifically with his boss.

Students will have the opportunity to share their own experiences and offer advice on how to handle similar challenges in the workplace. Case studies are a great way to encourage critical thinking, problem-solving skills and effective communication in English learners.

Ask your students to read the following case study, or listen as you read it to them. When finished go through the conversation questions with them. Try and get them to use approprate language to give their opinion and offer advice

Case Study: Problems With Micromanagement

John has been working as a project manager for a large construction company for the past five years. He enjoys the challenges that come with managing projects and ensuring they are completed on time and within budget. However, recently he has been having problems with his boss, who seems to micromanage every aspect of John’s work. This has been causing John a lot of stress and frustration, as he feels that he is not being given the freedom to manage projects in the way he knows is best.

John has tried to talk to his boss about the situation, but his boss has refused to listen and has even become defensive. John has also tried to find ways to work around his boss’s micromanagement, but it seems that no matter what he does, his boss is always there to interfere. This has made John feel undervalued and disrespected, and he is finding it increasingly difficult to enjoy his job.

Despite these challenges, John continues to work hard and is determined to find a solution to the problems he is facing with his boss. He knows that he is a good project manager and that he has the experience and knowledge to successfully manage projects. However, he is finding it difficult to keep his motivation and enthusiasm for his job when he feels that his efforts are not being recognized.

Conversation Questions

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  • How do you think John should handle his boss's micromanagement?
  • How important do you think it is for John to feel respected and valued in his job?
  • Have you ever experienced a similar situation with a boss or co-worker? How did you handle it?
  • Do you think John should be more assertive with his boss? Why or why not?
  • What one piece of advice would you give John if you were in his shoes?
  • Do you think John should try to find a new job or stay and work things out with his boss?
  • Is micromanagement by a boss always a bad thing? Why or why not?
  • What impact do you think John's situation will have on his future career prospects?
  • What can John learn from this experience?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.