5 Situations You May Need to Micromanage

I prefer to be a macro-manager. I like to lead leaders. This means I try to cast the vision for a team and get out of the way, releasing each team member to do his or her work in their own individual way.

There are times, however, where more micro-management may be needed by senior leadership. More coaching, encouraging or correction may be needed for a season.

Here are 5 times to consider some micromanagement:

When a team member is new to the organization.

They need to learn your culture and way of doing things. They don’t know. This doesn’t mean you don’t allow them to invent, dream and discover, but they also need to know how decisions are made, the unwritten rules, and the internal workings of the environment. It will serve everyone well and they’ll last longer on the team if these are learned early in their tenure.

When a team or team leader has been severely crippled by injury or stress.

I’ve had a few times where a member of our team just wasn’t mentally or emotionally capable of making the right decisions. It could be what they were dealing with in their personal life or with the stress of their work, but I had to step in and help them more than I normally would for a season to help them succeed.

When in a state of uncertainty, transition or change.

I once had a strong leader quit abruptly from his position. His team was devastated. I quickly realized they had relied too much on his leadership and were now lost without him. It required more of my time initially until we could raise up new leadership and better empower everyone on the team.

When tackling a new objective, critical to the organization.

This is especially true when, as the senior leader, I’m the architect of the idea. They need more of my time to make sure things are going the way I envisioned them to go. That doesn’t mean the outcome will look exactly like I planned, but in the initial start, the team can waste time and resources trying to figure me out without my input, rather than doing productive work.

When a team member is underperforming in relation to others.

As a leader, I feel it is part of my role to help people perform at their highest level possible. Sometimes this requires coaching, sometimes instruction, and sometimes even discipline. Part of being a leader is recognizing potential in people and helping them realize that potential within the organization. For a season, to help someone get on track for success on our team, (or even to discover they aren’t a fit for our team) I have to manage closer than I normally prefer.

I obviously wrote this in the context of an organization and not specific to the church, but these principles equally apply in the church. The important thing is that the end goals and objectives need to be reached, so at certain critical times a leader must step in and ensure the vision is being accomplished.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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  • Awesome post Ron! I think that the obscurity comes when we try to get our arms around precisely just what is too much? A lot of micromanagers I have actually run into do not realize they micromanage. But certainly there are times that a manager needs to, these is where your pointers helps a lot.

  • John Armstrong says:

    Great post!!!!!

    Micromanagement is seen as such a "wicked" thing and your did a great job surprising us with the title and giving great examples and putting a little common sense back in the equation.

  • Luke says:

    Ron – Great points here on when to step in. I wonder in point #3 how the team responded to your leadership after the previous leader left. I am always interested in how the culture changes and how they responded to your involvement versus the previous leader. Good stuff

    • ronedmondson says:

      I've actually had that numerous times. Different circumstances but similar scenario. There's always fear. We've sometimes lost people. Most of the time we've been able to calm nerves, refocus and begin again. But, that's the reason for the micromanagement. 

  • kmac4him

    I have not been open to use it for a lot of years. I realized reading this post that I need to be open to micromanagement at times. In my past I was hurt badly by a Pastor with a very dysfunctional micromanagement style. Since then I have not been open to use it. I realize now that is wrong. As you have shown, there are times it is needed. It is not a bad word! Followship is being open to the lead of the Holy Spirit, micromanagement has been a crack in my armor that needs to be repaired, so I too can follow after God if I am called to micromanage someone in times such as these. Thanks for this post. I sense God is wanting to heal something in my past through this wisdom. Appreciate it.

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