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Oh, the life of a manager. You need to give your team space, but you have to make sure they are delivering the project on time and under budget, which means you should pay close attention to details. But what if being detail-oriented negatively affects your management style?

For example, say you make it a habit to immerse yourself in overseeing a project, and you resist delegating to others, because you want to control the fine points of a project.

Hate to break it to you, but that is micromanaging, and those kinds of managers are not the ones that engage their team. Micromanagers are overly involved in the details of projects and are too controlling of those who should be attending to the details. Think about it, if the boss is going to control every detail, why should the employees even bother with it?

In addition, paying too close attention to certain details can cause unnecessary second-guessing, along with potential redundant work.

On the flip side, if you’re scared of becoming a micromanager, and take a ‘hands-of’ approach to your team, you might get blindsided by missed deadlines, and be perceived as being too distant from the details.

This is where you need to understand the fine line between monitoring the details and telling people how to do each task.

Efficient managers monitor performance without being too controlling of the details of how the work is accomplished. Learn how to balance the control of details with worker expertise, clarity of work goals, and frequent performance-based feedback.

Here are some tips:


  • When you establish yearly goals with your employees, ask them the level of involvement they want from you. Ask what you can do to be most helpful. Then follow through with their request whenever possible.




  • When determining the amount of latitude to give to an employee, consider his or her experience and motivation. For example, give more latitude to a person who is highly skilled and motivated in a particular area. Conversely, individuals learning a new skill will likely benefit from closer guidance.
  • Let your staff go forward with their ideas unless you have a major problem with their plans. Keep in mind that learning from mistakes is one of the most effective and common ways for people to develop.
  • Learn the difference between holding people accountable and micromanaging. Focus on results, not on whether they are achieved in exactly the same way you would achieve them.
  • Don’t micromanage, even new people. Instead, train people, break work down into manageable steps that they can handle successfully, and establish checkpoints.


Now it’s your turn. How do you balance the fine line between paying attention to details and micromanaging?