Darryl Stewart
By Darryl Stewart
Two men walking away down the street

Is a laid-back manager better than a micro-manager?

I don’t know much about Robert J Hall, except that I really like some of his writing on leadership. A recovered micro-manager myself, this post got my attention:

The Opposite of Micromanagement…Laid-back Management?

By Robert J Hall

What’s the opposite of micromanagement? Could it be laid-back management?

If so, is that bad? Is it bad to have a laid-back management style? Well, micromanagement is definitely not good if that’s a predominant trait. I think we can all probably agree on that. The same can be said for laid-back management, can’t it?

Here’s a possible example: one of your people comes to you for guidance on an issue and you say, “well, just do whatever you think is best” or “I’m fine with whatever.” Like, micromanagement, it’s not good to have that style as a predominant one, either.

Our people want to be led. They’re not looking for someone to tell them how to do everything and they’re also not looking for a boss who just leaves them to their own devices. They’re looking for good, solid leadership that provides the right amount of guidance. Now, that amount is different for every employee and that’s why it’s important for bosses to ensure that, while they treat everyone fairly, one management style “doesn’t fit all”. Bosses need to understand each of their direct reports and relate to them in a way that helps each person flourish. It’s a tall order, but it can be done.

The world is not black and white. The best leaders know that everything about people is shades of grey. To get the best from them, we leaders need to take the time to know each one and apply just the right  amount of guidance.

The laid-back manager is no better than the micro-manager, even though the words sound nicer.