17 Jul Moving From Micro to Macromanagement
Being in a managerial position doesn’t mean you automatically know how to be a great leader. There are so many factors to consider from the latest in employee and managerial trends to adapting to what works for your people as well as the approach that feels right for you. The good news is, the same way you will always be encouraging your people to grow, there is always room for you to do the same.
With the surge in distributed teams in recent months, there is a growing need for people leaders who are micromanagers to make the move to being a successful macromanager. Even if you don’t identify with the former, we still encourage becoming the latter. Why? Because micromanagement doesn’t work with remote working teams while macromanagement does. Let’s explore this further.
What Is Micromanagement?
When you hear the word micromanagement, think of terms such as excessive control or disproportionate attention to detail. Simply put, it’s too much. If you are a micromanager, what does this look like for your people?
Here are some examples:
- You don’t tend to delegate.
- You never pass on your skills.
- They have to report to you frequently alongside writing up regular reports.
- They are not allowed to make decisions.
- You are heavily involved in every part of the company operations.
- Everything takes longer than it should.
The reasons it’s a no go for us, in general, is because it does not benefit your people or the operational flow of your company. It’s less focused on the long term strategic development of the business and those working to achieve it and more focused on every single detail.
Why this is especially not an option for distributed teams is because, as we’ve explored in-depth in our recent eBook, you need to give your people autonomy to do their work when they are working remotely. Micromanaging simply doesn’t breed results. It slows down every operation, and it lowers morale. No one wants to be digitally hounded by their manager or questioned on every movement when they are in an environment which calls on them to take ownership of their working day. This is not the style for you and your team if you are trying to lead when everyone isn’t under the one roof.
What Is Macromanagement?
Where micromanagement is about managing everything and everyone up close, macromanagement is about leading from a distance. This does not mean becoming passive as a manager or dropping the ball. It means letting people do their 50% of the employee/manager relationship, and you do your 50% – the equal share you are both responsible for. It’s the opposite of the above in terms of approach. Macromanagement is about stepping back so your people can step forward.
Making The Move
Let’s look at more about this leadership style, the transition to it and what it looks like for you and your people.
- Focus – Every leader needs to focus their team but not by bringing everything under the microscope, especially not them. This is about the bigger picture. It’s more about where you want everyone to go together and to set these goals.
- Empower – Give your people the power to lead. Help them find purpose in their work and provide them with the freedom to fulfil it. This is all in your hands. You lay the foundation for them and their success to grow as their manager.
- Action – It’s imperative you know when to step up and when to step back. This will also depend on your people, understanding how they like to work and what works for them. Micromanagement might be too controlling, but you still need to take the reins at times with macromanagement.
- Trust – You need to trust your people to do their work, and you need to build this trust. This starts with creating a safe environment for them free from judgement, especially when it comes to making mistakes. You also have to give people space to do their work. Be consistent with this approach, and over time it will have the desired results.
- Coach – This is the ideal leadership approach. Replace being a manager with being a coach. Support your people in achieving their goals. Be flexible, be trustworthy and be consistent. Teach them and guide them while remembering there is no place for ego in macromanagement.
When it comes to adopting this style, take it one step at a time, starting with looking at your current approach. Review how different it is from macromanagement. It will give you an idea of the level of shift required to get to where you want to go. Remember this is a process so it takes time and an abrupt change in people’s professional lives, especially in their leadership can be challenging so ease into your new way of doing things.
Communicate with your people on this. Explore together this new approach and how it will look for them and what they need from you. Then it’s time to align or realign your people with this in mind ensuring everything is in line with individual, team and company goals. Finally, it’s about fostering a culture of teamwork, and you not only set the tone but lead the way on this.
Making the move from micromanagement to macromanagement is one thing, but striking the balance is another. This is vital, as if you go too far one direction or the other, you risk your approach having a negative impact. For example, if you happen to be too hands-off and miss seeing when someone needs your help.
The key to ensuring you find the right balance between the two for you and your people is that they will lead it. You are working with a variety of different personalities and skill sets, who all have various ways of learning. How they operate, what motivates and inspires them will lead you in leading them. This will take time and patience on your part. Remember, this isn’t just about making the move, and all will be well, it’s about you investing in yourself to become a better leader for your people.