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Is micromanagement a leadership style?

(guingm55 / Depositphotos.com)

(guingm55 / Depositphotos.com)

Is micromanagement a leadership style?

The word is often used as a way to describe attention to minute details by a manager, and people subjected to micromanagement often view it negatively.

New research from Roshni Raveendhran, a professor at University of Virginia Darden School of Business, argues that micromanagement is a label that shouldn’t be quickly applied to a manager’s detail-oriented behavior. Rather, it’s more about the context of the manager’s behavior.

Details from the research, according to the school:

– There is some detail-oriented behavior that might be viewed more positively by employees: when working on a critical task in which every team member must agree about every detail, such as during a crisis, and when a staff member is new to their role and could benefit from additional scrutiny. But, some more experienced employees who value their autonomy might find that inappropriate and hindering.

– People labeled as micromanagers tend not to be seen as leaders who can think more broadly about strategy; instead, they are viewed as being inappropriately focused on minute details. But detail-oriented managers can also be visionaries, and in that case, the label shouldn’t be applied.

– Managers who engage in controlling, detail-oriented behaviors may have a better response from employees if they explain why they are managing like that.

– Businesses have to train leaders to discern when such behavior is appropriate and when it might result in driving away potentially great employees because of the negative perception associated with micromanagement.


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