Micromanaging is one of those words that evokes an instant negative image. Certainly there are times when it happens, but it’s surprisingly hard to define well. Maybe a very rough high level definition is “excessive oversight”.

Most of the time on the management side it happens due to inexperience, a lack of faith in employees (for reasons real or perceived), or because they’ve moved up through the ranks and they want to see details, they know how it’s supposed to be done. Forgivable, something you work on throughout a career – it’s an easy trap to fall into.

The other side of this is that employees (and consultants) will tend to yell micromanagement if you want to see any level of detail. Wanting to see into a process isn’t micromanaging. Wanting to see into it every day probably is. It’s hard for a manager to get hit with this charge. You know it’s an easy trap to fall into, so the instinct is to back off, and the result is that you lose control.

Just because someone says you’re micromanaging doesn’t mean you are. It’s healthy and correct to take a look at processes occasionally, review time versus benefit. What made sense a year ago may not now if you have a choice between doing it differently or not doing it at all.

Don’t be afraid to look into processes, time management, and all the rest. Get into it, see if there are changes you want made,document how you want it done,then move on. After that it’s a simple matter to do a 5 minute look to see if that process is being followed (and you should do that).

It’s a tough balance, but try for balance. If you’re always in the details or never in the details, maybe it’s worth revisiting your own balance.