How to find the balance between micro and macro management

11/8/2021

A man assists two workers at the computer

Finding the right management style for your organization can be difficult, but a poorly organized management system can undeniably hinder your team from achieving its objectives. It's critical to examine the framework your company is currently existing under and evaluate whether this management method has been beneficial to the organization and how to approach this idea moving forward. While some managers prefer to closely observe the operations of their employees, others prefer to encourage more freedom in their workers.

However, it's difficult to determine the most effective system for your company without understanding the positive and negative aspects that come with these common management styles. Let's start with a few questions.

What is micromanagement?
For many years, managers and supervisors leaned on a micromanagement style of organization to achieve efficiency. Micromanagement constitutes tight control from company directors, and, ultimately, a lack of freedom for employees. Managers originally used this method of meticulous control to ensure that employees were on track and tasks were getting completed. However, they failed to recognize the negative effects this might have on employee morale and the toxic environment it might create.

A report on toxic workplace cultures by the Society for Human Resource Management noted that in the past five years alone, 1 in 5 American workers have left their job due to poor company culture, and this turnover equates to a $223 billion dollar loss. While this management style can be effective at guaranteeing tasks will be completed in a timely and proper manner, there are many negative consequences of overbearing micromanagement, including increased employee turnover and burnout, discouraged creativity, hindered productivity and damaged trust.

Is macro management the way to go?
These adverse effects have caused a number of managers to shift their style toward macro management instead. Macro-management constitutes a more "hands-off" approach, where managers focus on the big picture of operations instead of the minute details of all daily tasks. This independent style of organizational management is a way to give employees more freedom, while cultivating a sense of trust within the company. However, it is significant to acknowledge that a laissez-faire approach can still cause similar productivity issues that are seen within micromanagement systems. Without some form of management, employees may also be less productive believing these actions will go unnoticed. According to Gallup, lost workplace productivity due to distractions, vices and disengagement, costs the U.S. billions of dollars each year, which demonstrates a clear need for more effective management systems overall.

Moving Forward
While the concepts of micromanagement and macro management stand on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the perfect management style. However, finding the appropriate balance between these two frameworks can create the most beneficial management style for your employees. It could be invaluable to your organization to recognize and examine your management style and consider implementing the positive aspects of both concepts while actively trying to deflect the negative consequences of either. Effectively utilizing both management styles can actively help your company decrease employee turnover, boost morale, and increase productivity and longevity in employees. 

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