micromanagement vs ownership

The case for micromanagement

Micromanagement is amazing! Unfortunately it has gotten a bad rep. This is because we’ve forgotten this lost truth about micromanaging:

“Ownership is a result of good micromanagement”.

Just like raising children, the more you pour into them when they’re young, the better they will stand on their own two feet when they’re older.

Managers: If you expect them to do it themselves. You’re wrong. You have to pour information into them.

Same with teams.

It’s not right to demonize micromanagement. Or glorify “letting go”.

Both ends of this spectrum are horrible. Agreed:

No one likes to be micromanaged when they already know what they’re doing.

And no one likes to feel isolated and left in the dark when they’re in charge of a new project.

So explaining the image here below:

Please! Micromanage new people in phase 1 of any project.

Tell them everything. How you’ve done things, what works, what has already been tested. Your protocols. Double check everything they touch. They’re new. They don’t know anything. They WANT you to micromanage them (because your best project executors are conflict averse and value attention to detail, so upsetting people or making mistakes is their biggest fear).

Phase 2 is transitioning phase. This is where you still step in to micromanage in certain situations because they will still make mistakes because all knowledge hasn’t been transferred yet or they still portray old habits. But the initial “briefing” is way over in this phase and they can handle some stuff by themselves.

Phase 3 is the ownership phase. People are empowered. This is what everybody wants.

The truth is though:

You can only have ownership after they’ve been thoroughly micromanaged.

Because we all prosper when this is done right.

Managers get to satisfy their desire to make sure people are 100% informed up front by micromanaging.
Team members are happy because they get all the information they need to work up front.

And afterwards:

Managers can let go and trust their team.
And teams can work freely because their manager trusts them.

Everybody wins.

So let’s not demonize micromanagement. Or glorify ownership. There’s a time and place for both.

And both need each other 🤝

But hey, what do I know? I might be wrong. What’s your take?

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