There are times when micromanaging is both good and necessary, according to Christine M. Riordan, writing for Forbes.com, as she runs through some scenarios where managers should keep a closer eye on the day-to-day work of their employees.
While Riordan, a professor of management and an executive consultant, admits that "very bad things" can result from unnecessary attention to detail, she maintains there are times when it is "essential" to micromanage.
Riordan says: "All executives dream of having employees to whom they can toss work or a project and know it will get done and done well. Those employees may ask for input and help as needed, but they should reliably get the work finished with expected quality, timeliness, expertise, innovation and outcome.
"The reality, though, is that there are a number of circumstances that can require your close supervision and attention to detail."
Riordan offers six such scenarios:
1) Where a strategy is changing. Detailed direction is needed until the new approach is thoroughly understood and taken on board by everyone.
2) Where the business is taking on a new endeavour. Closer supervision is necessary if new products or services are being launched and an "all hands on deck" mentality will convey a "team approach".
3) When there's a new leader, employee or unit. Riordan suggests "reviewing projects in more detail, helping set priorities, providing interpretations of situations, making introductions around the company".
4) When an employee or leader fails to execute. If the project is lingering, find out if there are knowledge gaps or a lack of skills.
5) When a customer registers a serious complaint. This will, of course, need thorough investigation.
6) When results are disappointing. Find out the cause, and what's being done to turn the situation around.