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Posted on January 12, 2018
Updated on July 29, 2020

What is Micro-Management?

Micro-management is an easy trap to fall into as a team manager. Effective management takes time and effort to master. Micro-management refers to a leader sho does more than they are expected to. A manager’s role involves overseeing collaboration of their team and helping team members fulfil their potential. If their responsibilities go beyond this, they are a micro-manager.

The Benefits of Avoiding Micro-Management

Although it may be challenging to avoid Micro-Management, more benefits and successes are seen without it:

  • It reduces stress levels as a manager and helps team members reach their full potential, strengthening job satisfaction, performance and attitude. 
  • Avoiding Micro-Management allows your team to learn and grow.

Reflection from a managerial point of view can also help you eliminate Micro-Management. Self-evaluation and asking yourself questions regarding your interaction with your team along will benefit. Something along the lines of:

  • ‘Did I need to be involved/present in that discussion?’ 
  • ‘Where could I have backed off last week?’ 
  • ‘Could I have left X to make that decision?’ 

However, if it comes to a point where you have visited all of the above options, and you still have the urge to micro-manage because a certain employee is constantly failing to meet deadlines or not reaching expectations, then have a word with him/her and get them back on track. Have an open discussion and raise your concerns.

Micro-Management could easily come about due to a lack of communication or miss-communication. In order to avoid this, clear and precise expectations must be effectively communicated by the manager and fully comprehended by the employee from the onset.


Find a Balance

  • First things first - It is important to get the balance right. Dictate the desired end product and outcome of a set task – but NOT how to get there.
  • Not everyone will have the same way of working and getting to the end goal. It is important to give employees enough freedom for them to make their own decisions as well as make mistakes and learn from them. 
  • In the short-run, this might result in a few setbacks along the way and feel like a waste of time. However, in the long haul, this will help employees build on their set of skills and confidence.


Independence - Offering Autonomy

  • Offering a certain amount of autonomy and empowerment to employees goes a long way. Giving an employee responsibility and independence allows them to make them work their ‘own’. They will go over and beyond to make a difference and make every effort to exceed your expectations.
  • As previously stated, constant monitoring is not necessary. However, aim to nurture an environment for open conversation which allows you to frequently have informal conversations with your team members to check they are on track.

Effective Management

  • Effective Management encompasses the know-how of the potential of your team and individual skills and abilities. From this array of competencies, assign and delegate jobs and tasks to members that are well suited for them. By doing so, you know they have the correct skill set for successful completion and execution and hopefully have enough confidence in order to allow them to just get the job done without a constant check-up. 
  • Similarly, try and avoid delegating a set task to someone that doesn’t have the correct set of skills or strengths, as this will bring out Micro-Management.

In summary, autonomy and independence when delegating work is beneficial in the long run. As mentioned beforehand, everyone will take a different route to get to the same desired outcome.