Blind Trust or Micromanagment? 14 ways for new managers to strike a balance


New managers who feel unsure about how to inspire team members to perform at a high level will sometimes tighten their grip on their team’s projects. Unfortunately, trying to control all of the moving pieces from your limited perspective is not a good way to build trust with your new team.

As a new manager, how can you strike a healthy balance between blindly trusting your team members to do their jobs well and managing them too closely in an effort to ensure nothing slips? 

With the following advice from 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council, you can learn how to become more confident in your new position and trust your team to do their best work without a lot of input from you. 


1. Inspect What You Expect

Rather than inspecting everything, take time to inspect those actions, interactions, work and skills that are most important to achieving the desired goals. Mix it up and establish times every week when you will spend time in the operation, working alongside your team to observe, coach and learn. Get your team used to the idea that you will regularly inspect what is expected. – Shane Green, SGEi

2. Encourage Employees To Make Mistakes

Create a culture where employees are encouraged to be bold, innovative and collaborative and make mistakes. Additionally, clearly communicate job expectations so that everyone understands their role. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, managers must model the behavior they expect from their team. – Kaleth Wright, Air Force Aid Society

3. Set Clear Expectations

What does success look like? How will you know you are there? The manager needs to understand the team’s behavioral hardwiring to know how much or how little they need to get involved with check-ins, details and timelines. Once you get clarity on both points, focus on accountability and your approach will be clear. – Shelley Smith, Premier Rapport


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4. Analyze Your Default View Of People

What is your default way of viewing people? Are they capable and reliable or do they need direction? What view is most effective for your industry, employees and employer? Thinking that everyone needs direction results in micromanaging. Thinking that everyone is competent can result in costly mistakes. Be intentional about finding the right balance for each individual and adjust as needed. – Ron Young, Trove, Inc.


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5. Gather Honest Feedback For All Managers

Micromanagers can suck the life out of any organization, so identifying them is important. Over-delegation is also challenging. The best way to strike a healthy balance is to have a process that provides timely and honest feedback to all managers to aid them in understanding their impact on those they work with. Having this in place enables these managers to adjust in a timely manner. – Dan Ryan, ryan partners

6. Use Agile Solutions To Achieve Transparency

Achieve radical transparency around tasks and goals using agile software solutions. When everyone sees everyone else’s productivity in action, it becomes apparent when someone isn’t moving their projects along. It also helps people see that they may be blocking the productivity of someone else by not moving their own work forward. As a leader of a startup, I would not work without this level of transparency. – Pam Boney,

7. Show You Are There To Support Your Team

Showing you are there to support—not manage—your team is key to building a strong working relationship from the beginning. I always tell my new team members that I am there as a resource to help them to hit their individual and team goals and KPIs. This gives the ownership to them and builds a respectful relationship surrounding a single goal: getting the desired outcome. – Zander Fryer, High Impact Coaching

8. Understand The Dynamics Of The Team

You first want to understand the core competencies, experience and different personality styles on the team. This can help you determine the levels of trust and direct management that will be required. It’s critical to set expectations and measurable goals early on. Based on the outcomes, you can determine the intensity of supervision required. – Erica McKenzie, Creative Brands & Concepts

9. Make Sure People Know To Expect Check-Ins

Schedule check-in meetings as part of your delegation process. A huge misconception about micromanagement is that it is the same as checking in. People only feel micromanaged when the check-in or follow-up is unexpected. If new managers set clear expectations, including when and how they will check in on the progress of a project, they can avoid being labeled a micromanager. – Rachael Bosch, Fringe Professional Development

10. Provide Clarity Around Decision-Making Authority

Establish a clear picture of what success looks like in this role. Provide clarity around authority in terms of what decisions team members can make without permission. Also, come to an agreement on success metrics and determine points of accountability to make sure things are on track. Ensure that you sufficiently train them on processes so that they know what to do and how to do it. – Michael Mirau, ProActive Leadership Group

11. Make Accountability Part Of The Culture

Instilling ownership and accountability into the culture of the organization can assist in striking a healthy balance between trust and micromanagement. As a new manager, ensure that you leave each planning or review meeting with clear expectations of what success looks like and who is taking responsibility. This shifts the new leader away from being a micromanager and toward serving in the capacity of a coach. – Bryan Powell, Executive Coaching Space

12. Lead With Mindfulness And Self-Awareness

Developing the ability to lead with self-awareness and influence the results while being mindful of the team’s relationship dynamics is an introspective journey every new manager must take. Mastering the art of goal setting and affording the team opportunities to test flexible approaches helps strike the right balance and builds trust. Guiding the team toward sustainable, value-congruent choices is key. – Kasthuri Henry, KasHenry Inc

13. Implement A Good Project Management System

Implementing a good project management system that allows the manager to see where progress is taking place and which areas need to improve without having to call or check on the person or team is key. Building an effective communication channel with new members of the team is the key to building trusting relationships based on transparency and clear information. – Michelle de Matheu, The Mind, Body & Soul Stylist

14. Be Transparent From The Start

You are learning about each team member, each project and the work itself. The best way to learn is through observation and by using discovery questions. With each team member, co-create a cadence for check-ins and decide what will be discussed. Reinforce that your intention is to support learning and collaboration. The frequency of meetings will change over time and depending on the situation. – Amy Lafko, Cairn Consulting Services

Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.

Michelle de Matheu, High-Performance Life & Business Coach. Mind-Body & Soul Stylist. Read Michelle de Matheu’s full executive profile here.

Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.



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