What is Your Level of Involvement: Micro-leading VS Micro-managing

Shelley SmithBlog, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Predictive Index


How involved are you in the running of your business? Are you a micromanager or micro-leader? Have you ever heard of micro-leading? It comes down to your level of involvement. Involvement is a good thing. So, let’s ditch the negative we have heard all these years about micromanaging and let’s discuss the good of ‘micro’ and what I call micro-leading.

As an owner of a company or executive of a department, you need to know what is going on at all times. It is necessary to keep a pulse on the day to day activities that accomplish the desired results.

But are you managing or leading? What is your level of involvement and being present?

Over the years the micromanaging thought process has gotten a bit twisted in a way that makes managers and leaders unable to appreciate that they need to know what’s up and keep some level of control of the work your team is producing. 

“While it can limit the growth of a business, that may very well be why there are so many 10-person shops that stay stable, are nimble when recessions hit, are able to weather and adapt to change.”

– Kathy Howell, owner Howell Creative Group 

If you run into a client at a networking event as an owner, you surely want to know what is going on with the account, so you can show the client how important they are…right! Every client wants to feel like they are special and that they are the one your office is focused on. What better way then know what’s going on than to share some details about their account while talking to them.

To do that, you have to stay connected to your team in the process. Being connected doesn’t mean you need to manage every detail, but ensure the details are happening and providing feedback to your team along the way.

You can only do that effectively if you set the expectations, live them yourself and provide feedback to your team members along that way. That’s not over managing, that’s leading and being involved. It’s a fine line but there is a huge difference.

Micro-leading happens when you motivate to the needed behaviors vs. telling and managing authoritatively to all direct reports in the same manner. Motivation must be customized to each member of the team.

Still confused or not sure where I am going? Read on!


Micro-leading is defined as being a focused supporter, one who inspires, holds others accountable, provides guidance and mentorship to uplift and accomplish agreed upon goals. Involved, participating, taking action, being present, having awareness, giving guidance, and lending a helping hand is good ‘micro.’

Successful business owners stay involved and connected.

Asking questions on progress, clearly defining projects, timelines, expectations. Follow up with feedback, support and guidance. Allowing space for creativity and process improvement. Celebrating small and big wins. Being present at work and in the community.


This blog is dedicated to Kathy Howell, owner of Howell Creative Group in Williamsburg VA. She knows the difference between micromanaging and micro-leading. She is the face of her company and she does follow up with a hand that guides, mentors, develops, and hold her team accountable while staying true to her mission that I describe as professional, creative, accurate, and a service delivered with a heart.


My name is Shelley Smith, your culture curator. A company’s culture can make or break the long-term success and overall profitability. Your employees must be aligned with your mission, vision, and values. Their behavioral needs must be congruent with the needs of your culture and motivated to those needs daily. If you would like to know more about this process of inquiry please contact me directly at Shelley@PremierRapport.com or visit me on my websites to learn more www.ShelleyDSmith.com and www.PremierRapport.com. Calling all Culture Curators to join the conversation, for more information about membership, join-me.