Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Paying attention or micromanaging?

I have, many times, heard managers state that they don’t want to micromanage or be seen as a micromanager. This, I understand. However, there have been times when I’ve heard this as a response to my recommendation that a manager consider holding people more accountable.

Paying attention to the performance levels of your direct reports and their respective departments, setting and modeling high standards as they relate to quality and meeting agreed upon deadlines, and following up when you don’t receive a promised deliverable is not micromanaging. It’s effective managing.

Micromanaging is when you have difficulty letting go of a project or task once you delegate it. It’s seeing your own approach—even down to how you would manage the details—as the superior approach. It’s often referred to as “breathing down someone’s neck” as the micromanager hovers to control how details are managed. It’s not unusual for this behavior to squelch independent thinking and creativity. Employees may be thinking there’s no use, as you’re probably going to get involved and change it anyway.

There is a fine line between paying attention and micro-managing. However, the difference is clear. Paying attention and generating accountability—good. Micromanaging—not so much.

Struggling with micromanaging? Stay tuned, and next post, I’ll offer some doable strategies that may help.

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