Controlling Without Micromanaging: Getting the balance right

Episode #264 // I read an article in the MIT Sloan Management Review, titled The Art of Balancing Autonomy and Control, which outlines how to get the best results from the innovation activities your company undertakes. The moral of the story is, nose in, fingers out!

This led me to think more broadly about the concept of autonomy v control, in particular how it relates to optimizing both performance and employee satisfaction.

If you give your people too much autonomy, you risk wasting a lot of effort doing the wrong things… if you exert too much control, you fall into the trap of micromanaging, which introduces inefficiencies and demotivates your people in the process.


I learned throughout my career that balancing autonomy and control isn’t just an esoteric discussion: understanding and executing the principle is a critical leadership imperative that will either enhance or degrade the results you achieve.

In this episode, I look at the fundamental trade-offs between autonomy and control; I share a little about my journey to increasing control, without becoming a micromanager; and I give some really practical tips for striking the right balance with each individual in your team.

Source Material: 

MIT Sloan Management Review:

The Art of Balancing Autonomy and Control

Wikipedia Entry:

Situational Leadership Theory

Amazon Book:

The One Minute Manager


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