The Leadership Playbook: Macro-Management and Micro-Management

No one wants to be micro-managed. No one wants someone to hover over their shoulder directing their work. Nor do they want their manager nagging them about what they’re doing. Most leaders don’t want to micro-manage their people. Many worry so much about micro-management that they create a culture that lacks accountability.

Most of the time, what one person perceives as micro-management is actually macro-management.

Macro Activity and Macro Outcomes

The most important outcomes you need as a leader are macro. They’re high value, strategic outcomes that lead to objectives being met. The failure to achieve these outcomes creates problems for the company, for divisions or departments, and for teams. These outcomes should command people’s time and attention because the effort of the organization must be aligned with the outcomes.

If what you are doing isn’t producing the necessary outcomes, then your leader is going to ask you to focus your efforts on the activity.

If the activity isn’t aligned to big outcomes, a conversation is necessary.

Accountability Counts

If an outcome isn’t being achieved, something isn’t right. It could be that someone isn’t doing what they need to do. It could also be that they aren’t effective at the actions they need to take. But as a leader, accountability starts and ends with you. That means you have start by making sure your team knows what is expected of them, understands what needs to be done and why, and has the resources to achieve their goal.

As a leader, you are responsible for the outcomes being achieved, and that means you are going to need to inspect the results, ask questions, understand challenges, and remove constraints. Asking questions is not micro-management; it’s macro-management. Requiring more—or different—activities be taken in the pursuit of your goals isn’t micro-management either, especially if not enough action is being taken.

Much of the time those who complain about being micro-managed aren’t putting forth the effort to produce results, or they’re doing something they prefer doing instead of what they need to do. Correcting this is macro-management.

Filed under: Accountability

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