Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Communicating versus micro-managing

Had an interesting conversation with a friend recently about managing a team of direct reports, specifically as it related to inter-team dynamics and informal leadership.

My position was that inter-team issues would arise from a lack of communication around where each team member fit within the team. I felt that it is the responsibility of the team's manager to establish role clarity and inter-team communication norms.

My friend's position was that my position sounded too much like micro-managing, which got me thinking. Where does the line exist between effective communication and micro-managing?

To me, the line exists in follow up communications.

If, after expecations are communicated clearly to a team, observation of the team and individual communication between manager and team members doesn't uncover any confusion with expectations, no follow up is necessary. Reiteration of expecations at this point crosses the line into micro-managing either at a group or individual level.

If the team's manager identifies a disconnect with expectations by one member of their team, follow up communications should occur solely with that individual.

Where is your line for effective communications versus micro-managing?

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