One thing businesses constantly struggle with is how much they should manage their employees. Under-managing leaves employees feeling confused and directionless. Over-managing stifles employee creativity and often results in reduced work quality and employee morale. The proper balance falls somewhere in the middle at an ideal point that is different for every company, usually closer to macro-management than micro-management. Finding the right balance is a critical part of building a human resources management strategy.
In micromanagement, managers specifically direct their employees’ tasks in detail. It is a necessary part of training employees on new projects or skill sets, but it often takes longer than if managers simply do the task themselves. During training, employees can feel more empowered through micromanagement as they learn how to be productive members of the company. Outside of training, however, it often ends up being a time drain on the manager and an emotional drain on the employee. Skilled managers know when to micromanage and when to step back and let employees handle a task.
In macromanagement, the manager focuses on writing game plans for his or her team. In this role, the manager is developing an organizational strategy to keep the employees task lists comfortably full. In a properly macromanaged team, each employee will always have something to do next and team productivity will be maximized.
Consider this example of macromanagement:
- The manager allocates fifteen employees to seven projects according to their skill sets and the nature of the projects.
- The manager sets up what is called a Gantt chart, which indicates who will do what and when their initial and final deliverables will be due.
- When assigning the tasks, the manager will provide some suggestions on how to accomplish the tasks but leave most details up to the employees.
- The manager will check on employees periodically but mostly just oversee the projects, unless employees directly ask for advice or assistance.
Balancing Micro and Macro
Managers who can easily swap between macromanaging and micromanaging will be more productive and effective and add more value to their organizations. Ideally, managers will spend most of their time allocating tasks to the right members of the team, analyzing their progress, and offering specific advice without micromanaging extensively. It is primarily when team members need training that managers should step in and be more hands-on about the proper way to complete a task (or assign another team member to do so). In this way, managers focus on the overall strategy and productivity of their teams while giving employees autonomy, which helps them feel valued and empowered.