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Replace Micromanaging With Macromanaging For Leadership Success

Source | | Janet Britcher

A manager I once coached, who we’ll call Walter, was delighted when he was promoted to direct the technology team at his biotech company. He had been working with this group for years and was familiar with their strengths. Walter started his new role full of confidence, and he wanted to foster a sense of independence. But, after a few short months, most of that goodwill had eroded. Projects were veering off track, deadlines were slipping, and no one was taking the initiative to keep Walter informed. What had gone wrong?

Promoting a manager to a position where she or he needs to manage other managers creates a dilemma. Walter was skilled at nurturing collegial environments where assignments were well understood. It seemed only natural that when he began as a director, Walter would choose to maintain his management style, remaining hands-off about project completion. He didn’t want to micromanage.

Why Micromanagement Is A Problem

Micromanaging — staying in-the-know about all the nitty-gritty details and interfering with how someone works — is demotivating. It stifles innovation and keeps people from using their own judgment.

Of course, the opposite of micromanaging is neglect, and that’s certainly not an effective management approach, either. As Walter found out, when you assign a project but don’t monitor, you’re headed toward disaster.

What Walter needed was a management strategy that strikes a middle ground: one that could keep him up-to-date, without interfering with his staff’s independence

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