Are you a Micromanager? Do others consider you to be? Hopefully, the answer to both of these questions is “No.” The term Micromanager is widely thought to be one of the most unflattering labels you can have if you manage people. Micromanagers typically involve themselves so deeply into the smallest details of every project they manage it actually inhibits productivity and creates a very unpleasant workplace for the team as a whole.
Granted, not being a Micromanager is better than being a Micromanager. But is there something even better? Yes! A Macromanager.
Macromanagers deal with employees more efficiently, taking advantage of their individuality and contributing strengths to the overall team. Macromanagers provide a work environment which allows a team to work together and empowers them to not only make decisions, but to also make mistakes and to learn from both. This creates a bi-directional feeling of trust, while maintaining a sense of employee engagement and generating results.
Julie Giulioni, author of “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want”, explains some of the differences between Micromanagers and Macromanagers:
How can you become a Macromanager? How can you make the transition all the way from Micromanager to Macromanager? Try implementing these four traits of a Macromanager:
Focus on The Big Picture – Micromanagers get too deep in the weeds of a project rather than looking at things from a 10,000-foot viewpoint. To be a good Macromanager, focus more of your energy and attention on the organization’s direction and strategy for the future. In doing so, you can develop creative ideas on how to get there and trust your team to use their collective strengths to work out the details for success.
Understand Your Audience – Micromanagers tend to micromanage everyone, even those who do not need it. Macromanagers may occasionally need to provide more detailed guidance to a team member who is less experienced. When you see that team member begin to “get it,” step back before entering “Micromanager Mode.” Have a stronger member of your team work with and mentor the less experienced employees.
Observe – Watch the progress of your team, keeping your distance. As an experienced manager, you will recognize the cues that tell you when to engage and when to hold back. Your responsibility is the successful completion of the project overall, so you should always be involved as a manager, mentor, advisor and member of the team. Successful people surround themselves with successful people. Give your team room to succeed and let them know you are there if they need you.
Welcome Feedback – Find a way to ask questions regarding progress without coming across as “interfering.” As the manager responsible for overall success, you have the right and the responsibility to know what is going on. Make sure your team understands you are not there to judge or to criticize, but to offer help and observations if and when needed. Open communication should be encouraged.
As a manager, you have larger responsibilities to the organization. If you ever find yourself getting too deep into the weeds of any one project, you should ask yourself, “What should I be doing in my job that I am not doing?” Chances are there is something else you should be focusing more time on. Your employees will thrive and progress more quickly with your guidance rather than your direct involvement.
CAI Advice & Resolution team member Renee Watkins is a seasoned HR professional with a diverse background in Human Resource. Renee provides CAI members with practical advice in a wide-range of human resource functions including conflict resolution, compliance and regulatory issues, and employee relations.