What is the difference between being managed and led, and did you know that you have more say in how your boss treats you than you might think?
Being managed is being told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, and then that is followed up with constant check-ins to make sure you are on track. Being led looks more like being a part of the idea creation, the planning, and then running with the process with accountability but no one hovering over your shoulder. You can be setting your own tracks in the snow, or just being told what to do and how to do it all day long.
Some people prefer to be managed, as it may take less effort on their part. But others find that kind of leadership stifling. If you have found yourself feeling as though your boss is always micromanaging you, start by asking yourself if you have been sending signals indicating that you prefer to be managed rather than led. To demonstrate to your boss that you prefer to be led, share solutions not just problems, show your boss your plan for accomplishing a task, be the one to give status updates before your boss needs to check in, and get your work done on or ahead of deadlines and make sure the quality is top notch. Of course, always be willing to stand down if your boss declines your ideas or points you in another direction, but it is fair to ask for feedback on the “why” behind their decision. When you do ask for feedback then take that feedback and put it into action.
With all of this, of course there are exceptions–your boss may have some leadership gaps that need work or is going through a rough patch. There are ways to be respectful of a boss and not challenge them while still asserting yourself so pick your battles and if you sense that your boss is threatened then back down for a bit and just show them that you can follow their direction, get the job done, and produce results for them as they requested.