Are you a micro manager or being micro managed or are you a macro manager and being macro managed? Which is better?

In the world of business and management, dealing with micromanagement is a frequently discussed and dissected topic. Most believe it’s bad. In attempting to curb micromanaging tendencies, or avoid it all together, sometimes a manager can too readily jump to the opposite end of the spectrum.

But, when a manager becomes so hands off that they’re out of touch with the work at hand and stops helping their direct reports, the consequences of macro management can be unexpectedly severe.

At first, having a macro-manager leading your team can feel like having the perfect boss. No hovering around, no regular assessment, vague accountability, open-ended instructions — what’s not to love?

We rarely hear about macro-managers because employees don’t want to spoil a cushy situation – so they don’t complain of macro managers. While the impulse to macro-manage often comes from wanting to give employees greater initiative and freedom, macro-management however can detrimental to companies and employees in the long run.


Success is often at more risk under a macro-manager than a micromanager. Your direct reports may produce work vastly different from what you thought you told them.

While a micromanager would hover and exert too much control over each stage of the task, a macro-manager is more likely to provide non-specific detailed instructions and then take a step back to give employees autonomy.

But with this approach, things get lost along the way. Being too hands-off can leave a manager out of touch with their employees. Without some level of active involvement, it’s impossible to stay on the same page and know when and where to provide direction and support.Macro-management can be just as bad as micromanagement, and I would argue even worse. Although employees are more likely to stay put under a macro-manager — rather than quit under the over-controlling micromanager — the traps of macro-management may still lead to less productivity throughout the company.

It’s important to focus on the company’s strategy and vision, but you should always be in the know of where a task is at in its timeline and how everyone on your team is working towards achieving the set goals.

As opposed to ‘macro-management’ term ‘micro-management’ is one of the more popular labels to attach to ineffective managers. We use it to describe a various types of behaviour, but the technical definition is someone who manages to too great a level of detail, too frequently. Most people don’t have an issue with a leader periodically checking over their work as a progress check to stay on course.

Walking the line

Macro-managers are even less successful in terms of business results, but we don’t hear about them often. Thinking long-term, working for this type of person will rot your capabilities and your career, and you’ll seldom be producing the type of results you can feel proud of at the end of the day.

Sounds complicated and you are lost to decide which is better for you and the organisation? The practice of ‘checking in’ on progress of work is one of the best and easiest ways to walk the line between micro and macro-management.

You aren’t looking at the details on everything, every time, but looking at the details on certain critical objectives on need basis to help your team to hit the goals in a timely manner.

After all in a fast pace world, we operate in with ever multiplying macro and micro challenges shifting styles as and when necessary to address the current issues without allowing today’s micro problem to become a macro problem tomorrow causing business losses.

Keep in mind there is a psychological and a technical aspect to the subject and you need to manage both to be an effective leader while being respected in the eyes of your team members.

Kishu Gomez
Biz Talk with Kishu Gomez – Sunday Observer

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