Management: Micro verses Macro

Last month, I attended a conference held by the Tennessee Bankers Association (@TennesseeBanker). Their Annual Human Resources Conference, had a great speaker named Brian Townley. Brian, like myself, is charged with leading both Human Resources and Marketing at his bank. After hearing him speak, I picked up his book Inspiring Leadership. One line from his book took me by surprise.

To me, the worse supervisor is the dictator who says, “Here’s what I need and I don’t care what you do to get there.”

Before reading this, I always thought the extreme micro-manager was the worse supervisor. You know, the manager that checks in and ask questions every 10-15 minutes. But after reading Brian’s book, I understand what he is referring to when placing the “Hands Off” Macro Manager (HOMM for short) at the top of his bad manager list.

Consider the following: Two managers, one a micro and the other a macro manager.  Both managers truly care about their staff and they have a passion for their organization.  Now let’s look at the perception their staff may see when it comes to project management.

  • Communication — Both managers are coming from a caring place.  A Micro Manager will stay in constant communication.  Yes, this manager is getting on their staff’s last nerve, but the staff knows this manager “means well.”  The HOMM just wants something done and, in the eyes of his staff, can come across as just seeing the project as just another task.
  • Coaching — Since a micro manager is very involved in the project, they have more hands on time and are more exposed to coach-able events.
  • Motivation — How can a HOMM know what motivates his/her team if they are not involved with their work?

So which style is better?  A great leader is able to take a blended approach based on what best motivates a staff member.  Giving your team enough room to grow while being around enough to encourage and give feedback is a tough balancing act.

Of course this is easier said than done.  Finding the right balance doesn’t happen overnight, but with hard work and commitment, many leaders have been able to accomplish this.  The good news is that once it has been accomplished the team grows stronger, and the manager certainly isn’t compared to Bill Lumbergh.


About Jeremy M. Price
For twelve years, I had the pleasure of working in community banking. Starting in customer service, I worked my way up to a senior level marketing and human resources director. It was great leading teams that improved strategic initiatives including, but not limited to brand awareness, digital communication, employee development and product development. This experience has now led to an exciting role with CRS Data. As the Product Marketing Analyst, I am currently reviewing the company's banker suite product. This product is able to help community banks reach their fullest potential in real estate lending. I am extremely fortunate to share time with my son while enjoying life in East Tennessee. The two of us enjoy the views of the Smokey Mountains, eating good food and having fun. During my free time, I enjoy running races, traveling and listening to great live music.

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