Are you an introverted leader or a macromanager?

While they may seemingly share the same characteristics, one brings chaos and the other brings motivation

Are you an introverted leader or a macromanager?
Tracy Menon, associate professor of business at Ohio State University, defined macromanagement as a ‘trap’.

“It’s being too hands off … delegating and empowering [your workers] too much,” she said in a recent interview with Harvard Business Review.

She explained that business leaders have been sold the idea that “all you have to do is do the interview, hire the right people, and you’re done. Just sit back and let the magic happen”.

Oftentimes, however, what you end up with is chaos, she said.

In the book Stop Spending, Start Managing: Strategies to Transform Wasateful Habits, Menon and her co-author organisational researcher, Leigh Thompson, said these ‘super groups’ are like an orchestra where everyone comes in with their own instruments and told to just play.

“You’re going to get noise … It’s going to be cacophonous. That’s what you get in these kinds of environments,” she said.

Menon also pointed out certain characteristics leaders need to watch out for before they fall into the ‘macromanagement trap’:

1)    People don’t know their roles.
2)    There is conflict.
3)    The outcome is not what you expected from the team.

“You have to have basic conversations about people’s roles,” she said.

“Sit down [with them] and collaborate on how you are going to get the work done together.”

Signs of an introverted leader
But what Menon termed as ‘macromanagement’, CEO Ryan Westwood called ‘introverted leadership’.

Westwood, writing in Forbes, argued that introverts make great leaders because “they hire good people, then leave them alone”.

“Employees who are allowed to be creative on the job get better results and feel more motivated at work,” he said.

He pointed out the tech industry’s adoption of this concept, particularly citing Google and their Genius Hour, where employees are given the flexibility to work on their projects of their own choosing.

Westwood also said that introverts are “in tune with their teams and the individual needs of employees” because they listen to what the team needs rather than simply telling them what they should do.

“Even though many consider introversion a barrier to leadership, there are many CEOs who take a different approach to leadership than their extroverted colleagues,” he concluded.

Related stories:

How HR can succeed in the corporate boardroom

Should managers push employees to do more?

How HR introverts can become great leaders

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