I am pretty sure some employees have felt I have micromanaged their activities. I can’t tell you how many candidates have stated during an interview they are leaving their current position because their manager micromanaged them. So what is the difference between micromanaging and managing to the details? How can you ensure you understand the details but don’t micromanage?
From a personal experience, I finally figured out one significant difference. Managing to the details is asking the questions what, when and sometimes who. What is the task you are charged with completing? When will you have this task done? Who is responsible for the project, or who is holding it up?
Along with asking the right questions, you also need to make it clear that you are there to help if needed. It’s when you start asking them to how they will complete the task, or even worse, telling them how to complete the task that you have moved into micromanagement.
You want to avoid asking questions like the following: How will you get that information? How will you complete that task? Or worse, here is how you should complete that task. The bottom line is, knowing the status of crucial projects is part of your role as a leader. Telling people how to do their job isn’t.