Leadership is integral to business success. It encompasses taking the lead and managing people in a given company. Unfortunately, over three-fourths of businesses reported a lack of leadership in their organizations.

One problem encountered in leadership is micromanagement. Gartner defines micromanaging as the excessive supervision of employees. But according to Forbes, it is a form of bullying since it’s about taking control of people.

Trinity Solutions conducted a survey on micromanagement. The study revealed that:

  • Nearly 80% of employees had experienced micromanagement.
  • Over 70% said it had affected their work performance.
  • About 85% reported it had negatively impacted their morale.
  • Almost 70% considered changing jobs, and over 35% changed jobs due to micromanagement.

So how do we draw the line between leading and micromanaging? Keep reading to learn more.


Definition: Micromanaging vs. Leading

It’s crucial to understand that employees are human capital. Not only do they get their jobs done, but they ensure your day-to-day operation. They work directly with your customers and bring money to your company. Without them, your business will cease to exist.

That’s why talent management is highly critical to operational success. The burden falls on managers who are responsible for overseeing their employees. While HR personnel ensures the hiring and onboarding of the right people, managers provide them with training and production support. If anything, they seek to keep these employees for good.

Unfortunately, some managers tend to practice micromanagement instead of exhibiting genuine leadership. Such can compromise talent retention and lead to employee turnover.

But how do micromanagers and leaders differ? Let’s start with the actual definition:

  • Leadership: Forbes underscored that the leader’s role is not to delegate all the tasks. They facilitate interactions among employees. Their goals include improving communication, eliminating distractions, enhancing knowledge and skills, providing the utmost support, and ensuring business productivity.
  • Micromanagement: Per Gartner, micromanaging consists of behavioral patterns where managers exhibit excessive supervision. They take control of their employees in their work and specific tasks. They don’t just delegate tasks; they make decisions for their staff.


5 Key Differences between Leadership and Micromanagers

Earlier, you learned the main difference between micromanagement and leadership based on their definitions. Now, let’s look at how leaders and micromanagers differ in their management styles.

Note: Leaders and micromanagers work differently in various business processes. You can distinguish their management approaches based on how they deal with their subordinates. As a manager yourself, that will help you decide what approach types are effective in handling your employees.

That said, here are the five key differences between leaders and micromanagers:

1. Business Planning

Business planning is key to successful project implementation. Managers sit down and come up with comprehensive plans before executing particular tasks. The ultimate goal is to meet their business objectives. That’s where the difference between leaders and micromanagers lies.

Micromanagers decide by themselves and impose decisions on their subordinates since they want to gain control. Meanwhile, leaders collaborate with their employees in their business planning and decision-making.

Mark Pierce, CEO of Cloud Peak Law Group, recommends undergoing business planning within the bounds of the law. “However, employee voices matter in planning to reach your business goals. Make sure to get everyone involved.”

2. Task Delegation

A business operation usually consists of several units—and teams. Each department has functions to handle, wherein each employee plays a crucial role. Thus, managers review job roles and assign tasks accordingly.

However, micromanagers head up every project to stay on top of everything. They define all tasks involved in a project and assign them to each worker. On the contrary, leaders have their complete trust in their employees. They are confident that they know their duties and responsibilities.

David Aylor, Founder & CEO at David Aylor, recommends managers know the employee contracts by heart. “That will give you an idea of the work scope of each employee. More importantly, treat your employees as responsible adults. They aren’t students who should completely follow you as their manager.”

3. Employee Supervision

Employee management is integral to business success. On top of this, managers let their team leads supervise each employee. Doing so helps improve service efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction. It’s where the word ‘micromanagement’ becomes crystal clear.

Micromanagers act more than just supervisors. They monitor their employees doing their jobs all the time. They even interfere in their work to ensure they are doing the right thing. On the other hand, leaders fully trust that their employees perform their day-to-day tasks. They only interfere if they exhibit poor performance or commit critical issues.

Stephan Baldwin, Founder of Assisted Living, believes in caring for people within an organization. “This essentially applies to the workplace. As a manager, you are responsible for overseeing the welfare of your employees. Be sure to treat them the way you treat your own family.”

4. Employee Evaluation

Performance evaluation is part and parcel of business. Managers should ensure that their supervisors monitor and evaluate each employee. The goal is to improve their performance, which impacts the overall company performance. If everyone performs better, the business will thrive and grow more.

Micromanagers are good at employee evaluation since they track them all the time. However, they tend to go overboard by treating employees as robots to have complete control. However, leaders don’t only assess employees, but they also empower them. They understand the value of employee development and training.

Logan Mallory, VP of Motivosity, underscores redefining employee evaluation. “Monitoring employees doesn’t mean finding faults and making employees feel bad about their work. It’s about checking areas of opportunities and bringing out the best in them.”

5. Business Decision-making

Decision-making is vital in business; however, it’s highly critical. Your goal isn’t only to satisfy your customers for profits; you also have to empower your employees. Why? They are your most valuable assets by ensuring day-to-day operation. Without them, your company will get crippled, and no customer will patronize your business.

Micromanagers are focused on customer satisfaction when making decisions. They control people to serve your customers and win them. However, leaders care for their employees so that they will take care of customers. More importantly, their voices get heard in the decision-making process.

Nate Tsang, Founder & CEO of WallStreetZen, said that decision-making is critical in business. “Leaders and managers are usually the ones making decisions. However, they must listen to their employees as they work directly with customers. Their feedback, whether suggestions or recommendations, can help you make sound business decisions.”


10 Proven Tips To Become a Good Manager

A manager is crucial to employee empowerment, customer satisfaction, and business profitability. Obviously, a leader is best for empowering employees and ensuring their professional success. On the other hand, micromanagers are only effective in rare circumstances. For instance, resort to micromanagement if you have employees:

  • With poor performance
  • Involved in critical issues
  • Who are newly hired

These employees need proper guidance and constant monitoring. Until they are confident doing their jobs, you need to micromanage them.

However, what makes good managers? Take note that they lead more and micromanage less. However, there’s more to this than meets the eye. If you plan to become one, here are some practical tips for you:

  • Set a good example. As a manager, you should be a role model yourself. For instance, go to work on time so that employees will be punctual as well.
  • Get to know your employees. Take time to deal with them. Know their backgrounds, identify their roles, and understand their needs. They will feel valued all the more. 
  • Have a clear vision. That will help you navigate the right direction for your team. 
  • Communicate goals and expectations. Clearly inform your team about the business objectives for every project and set proper expectations for everyone.
  • Trust your employees. Your company hires them because they have the required knowledge and skills. Trust that they do their job well. But while giving them the liberty to work, always offer the utmost support. 
  • Listen to your employees. You should be open to their feedback and suggestions. That will help you make sound business decisions. 
  • Create an inclusive work environment. Everyone should be welcomed to work in the company no matter how diverse the people are. 
  • Enhance their knowledge and skills. Be sure to coach your employees. Provide them with proper training and constant updates. 
  • Support their career growth and development. Training programs help. But as a manager, open doorways of opportunities for your employees. 
  • Empower and protect your team. Understand that everyone is a part of the whole family. A cohesive team makes a world of difference in your business success.


Combining True Leadership and Effective Micromanagement for Business Success

In a nutshell, leading is facilitating jobs and empowering employees. On the flip side, micromanaging is supervising and controlling people in their work.

That begs the question: What management style should you take?

By the looks of it, excellent leadership plays a crucial role in bringing out the best in employees. However, there are rare instances when you should resort to micromanagement. Thus, it takes combining authentic leadership and effective micromanagement to achieve success.

Ultimately, learn how to draw the line between the two by considering the discussions above. That will help you become a great manager—or leader, for this matter!

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