Take Samantha, who works at a marketing agency in Salt Lake City. Samantha's boss is apparently allergic to assigning her direct reports projects via e-mail or quick conversations in the hallway.
"Instead, I have to sit by her side -- in her office, with my laptop -- and literally draft pitches, plans, strategies and recaps in front of her as she verbally explains what she wants," Samantha said. "It's not an efficient use of time, and it's hard to write thoughtfully and strategically with your boss over your shoulder."
Micromanagers are either perfectionists, control freaks, not trusting of others or insecure about how their own performance will be perceived, said Julie Jansen, author of "You Want Me to Work With Who? Eleven Keys to a Stress-Free, Satisfying, and Successful Work Life."
To get them off your back, Jansen suggests documenting the tasks and projects you complete. Then sit your boss down and say, "Here are the last four assignments I did that you were happy with." Tell them that given the common business goal (getting the report out by the end of the day), you could work more efficiently if they loosened up the reigns (refrained from asking for 19 rounds of revisions).
"You can't really be subtle with a micromanager," Jansen said. "You have to hit them over the head with it. If you if talk clinically in business-like terms, they won't be offended."
When Lisa, who's now a social media consultant in New York, met her most recent boss for the first time, his limited skill set stunned her.
"Soon after his promotion, he traveled to meet me in my regional office, in an effort to learn more about the work I performed day to day," Lisa explained via e-mail.
"One of the questions he asked me was so darn basic that even a 10-year old could answer it. Evidently, he still had not mastered the e-mail system. How does someone -- nice or not -- who doesn't understand the most simple Microsoft Outlook program become VP in charge of a team whose communications rely on e-mail?"
To deal with an incompetent boss, "You have to role model what the right behavior is and try to turn away before you roll your eyes," Taylor said.
Then take consolation in the fact that in this economy, a boss who can't figure out how to send an e-mail won't be boss for long.
"I was miserable from day two," Phyllis from Vancouver, B.C. said of her last job as an executive assistant. Now a virtual assistant who works for herself, she attributes most of her unhappiness at her former job to her boss' extreme hands-off approach.
"He was inevitably late for work and meetings -- even meetings he'd convened," Phyllis said. "His typical day would be to arrive around 9:30 (our day started at 7:30), dash straight into his office without speaking to anyone and stay there until lunch time.
He'd literally sneak out the back door for lunch, again without speaking to anyone. He repeated this routine after lunch as well. His administrative team felt like blithering idiots every time we'd assure someone that the boss was in his office, only to discover that he'd pulled another Houdini on us."
To catch up with a magician like this, you need to stalk them, Taylor said. Intercept them on their way to lunch if you have to. Or bring all your questions about pending projects to your face-to-face meetings with them, no matter how infrequent. Just be sure to keep your queries short and sweet.