There’s a lot of talk about micromanaging these days, and the majority of the people, even those who micromanage themselves, agree that it’s a wrong strategy. Micromanaging is indeed something a good leader should not be doing, but the real problem is in understanding what micromanaging is and what is not. This article will do it’s best to explain the difference.

Correct management focuses on “what to do” while micromanagement on “how to do”.

It’s evident that in the company, the managers make the calls on what the company does, as if there’s no one to decide this, there will be no mutual goals and direction to which the company is going to. But what should be left for each employee to determine individually is how they do the thing they are asked to do.

What is micromanagement?

What is not micromanagement?

Giving detailed instructions on what should be done and supervising that it’s done correctly in not micromanagement.

For example, if the company is designing its website or a product, the manager has the right and needs to decide how the final product will look. It also means going into small details like the size and the colour or the font. The manager usually is the one paying for everything, so by right, the company’s product is his, and he can decide how it will look. In some cases, there might be a need to check if everything is done correctly, as there are people who make a lot of mistakes. The manager is usually responsible for the company’s mistakes, even if it’s not him who made a mistake personally. Therefore it’s his responsibility to make sure that everything works as it should.

Sadly it’s a common disbelieve that the actions mentioned above are micromanaging, when in fact, they are not.

Micromanaging is forcing the “company culture”

The most prominent example of micromanagement is forcing people to obey the so-called “company culture”. There are no fixed set of rules of the “company culture” as it can vary from one company to another, but here is a list of the most common examples:

Dress code

Wearing a suit or other uniform in the office has no impact on productivity. Acceptable exceptions are meetings with the clients, or if the company operates in the industry where there’s an established uniform or a dress code.

Fixed work hours

There’s absolutely no reason why everyone should work at the same time, from 8 to 16. Sliding working hours from 8 to 22 would be much better for everyone. In the case of meetings, it could be required for everyone to be present at work from 14 to 16.

Mandatory communication methods such as corporate email or phone

People also use Skype, Telegram, Viber and WhatsApp, which are often faster and more effective. And some people may just not like speaking on the phone.

Mandatory socializing with other employees

If a person does his job well, there’s no need to force him to make friends with his colleagues. Maybe he’s not a social type.

Mandatory workplace

Today, there’s no need for people to work at the office. The same work can be done from home. It would be much more effective only to ask employees to come to the office a couple of times a week for meetings, and the rest of the time they could work from whatever place they want.

Counting work hours

The whole idea of counting the work hours of a full-time employee is ridiculous. You should be paying people for the work they do, not for the number of hours they waste. If a person does his daily work in 4 hours, he should be allowed to go home once done and not sit another 4 hours doing nothing.

Ideology at work

Politics, religion and ideology do not belong to the workplace. These topics should not be discussed by the company at all, as they are private matters and most definitely should not be propagandized at the workplace. People should never be fired over what they say, as it’s none of the company’s business. Today with all those political propaganda movements, it’s more important than ever to respect the employees’ personal opinions, even if they are wrong.


Filip Poutintsev, the Chief Editor of Honest Pros and Cons, is a long term business writer, who has been featured in various online publications such as Forbes, CoinTelegraph and HackerNoon. Now he writes exclusively for Honest Pros and Cons.