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The Macromanager's Guide: 6 Tips to Empower Your Team

Master macromanagement and boost employee morale, productivity, and innovation. Learn essential tips to empower your team.

Vicki Chen
Writer at Motion
Apr 24, 2024
Table of contents

Micromanagement is suffocating for both you and your employees. It's a constant drain on your time and energy and often leaves your team feeling constrained and uninspired.

Since 73% of workers think micromanagement is the biggest workplace red flag, you need to make sure your company doesn’t fall into it.

Macromanagement, on the other hand, is at the other end of the management spectrum. It gives you and your team more space to thrive.

Here, we break down what macromanagement is, what a macromanager does, and how to macromanage effectively.

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What is macromanagement?

Macromanagement is a hands-off leadership style that is all about giving employees autonomy and decision-making power to achieve goals. It focuses on the big picture or the desired results rather than the step-by-step process of how the work gets done.

The idea behind this management style is that if you hire the right people, they become driven and capable enough to do great work — all they need is the freedom and trust to make it happen.

Macromanagement vs. micromanagement

The difference between these management styles comes down to three key areas:

Autonomy vs. control

In a macromanagement workforce, the employees are empowered to manage their own work processes, make decisions, and take ownership.

On the other hand, micromanagers try to control every detail of their team's work, leaving little room for individual judgment or initiative.

Outcomes vs. process

Macromanagers emphasize the desired results. They prioritize achieving key goals over following specific processes.

Micromanagers, however, tend to obsess over step-by-step methods.

Leaders vs. supervisors

Macromanagement fosters leadership, where managers provide support and guidance to their team.

Conversely, micromanagement often leads to supervision, close direction, and a focus on controlling individual tasks.

What does a macromanager do?

Think of a macromanager like the captain of a ship. They chart the course and set the destination but leave the day-to-day navigation to the crew.

Here’s what a macromanager looks like in practice:

Focus on the big picture

A macromanager is a goal-setter and visionary. They establish clear goals and set expectations to ensure the team is collectively moving in the right direction. It’s their job to define the desired outcomes and success metrics so that their employees have a clear target to aim for.

Macromanagers’ focus on the finish line instead of a specific path gives their team the freedom and flexibility to find the best way to get there.

Build mutual trust

While 86% of executives say they highly trust their employees, only 60% of employees feel highly trusted. This gap highlights a missed opportunity to foster mutual trust. After all, trust is a two-way street.

Trust between manager and employee

‎By giving employees the freedom to make decisions, a macromanager demonstrates a belief in their team's judgment and abilities. This sends a powerful message that says, "I trust you to do good work."

Employees thrive in a culture where they feel both capable and empowered. They’re more likely to take responsibility for their performance because the results reflect their determination, skill, and focus — not their manager’s.

Delegate effectively

A big responsibility of a macromanager is to delegate tasks effectively. Part of this is to match the right employees to the right tasks to ensure that each person works on projects that leverage their strengths and interests.

Moreover, macromanagers provide clear instructions, resources, and context so their team has all the things they need to succeed. Anticipating employees’ needs and offering them the right tools shows that they are not only invested in their team's success but also trust them to complete tasks independently.

Provide support and guidance

Using a hands-off approach doesn't mean being unavailable. Macromanagers offer high-level insights and feedback. They act as mentors and coaches, offering support without taking over the tasks entirely. Their goal is to help their team problem-solve and find their own solutions.

Guidance and support pave the way for employee self-reliance and confidence.

Track progress toward outcomes

Macromanagers don't disappear after they set strategic goals — they keep an eye on the big picture. A big part of this is tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine how the team is progressing. This allows them to spot potential issues early and make adjustments if needed. It also helps ensure the team stays on target to achieve their goals.

Pros and cons of macromanagement

Macromanagement can be incredibly effective, but it's not a universal solution. Let's take a realistic look at the pros and cons to help you decide whether it would be the right fit for your team:


Gives employees autonomy

Autonomy impacts results. In fact, it reduces worker fatigue by 1.9 times. Without the chronic stress of being micromanaged, employees have more mental and emotional energy to dedicate to their work.

When employees have a say in the "how" of reaching a goal, they feel a stronger connection to their work and its outcomes. This increased control leads to higher productivity.

Boosts morale and motivation

When employees feel trusted to manage their own work, their satisfaction and morale get a boost — and happy employees are often more motivated. Studies show that trusted employees are 260% more motivated.

A sense of ownership over projects sparks a natural desire to see those projects succeed, which motivates employees to go the extra mile.

Helps develop strong leadership skills

Macromanagement can help you develop future leaders within your team. By allowing your employees to take ownership, you also give them opportunities to problem-solve independently and build confidence in their decision-making abilities. Instead of always seeking approval, they learn to trust their judgment and take calculated risks — both crucial skills for a leader to have.

Encourages innovation

Macromanagement frees up creativity. Teams that have the space to experiment are 71% more likely to innovate than those without. With the chance to explore new ideas and try different approaches, employees are free to think outside the box.

Since macromanagement emphasizes the outcome instead of the step-by-step process to achieving that outcome, employees often fear failure less when trying something new. This is where those "aha!" moments happen.

Employee thinking outside the box

‎Frees up managers’ time

Micromanagement is often exhausting for everyone involved.

Macromanagement, on the other hand, frees up valuable time to focus on what matters, such as strategic planning or long-term initiatives. This is a win-win — employees get more autonomy, and managers get more time.


Risks goal misalignment

Macromanagement relies on everyone being on the same page. Without clear communication of the overarching goals and expectations, individual efforts may stray from the bigger picture.

To prevent misalignment, set crystal-clear objectives and regularly check in with your team.

Increases potential for mistakes

With less direct oversight, there's an increased chance that errors or oversights will slip through the cracks, especially in the early stages of switching to a macro approach.

Employee accidentally making a mistake

‎Regular progress updates or peer-review systems can help you catch mistakes early on and minimize major disruptions.

Slows down progress or decision-making

The shift to more autonomy may need some getting used to. It might take more time for employees to adjust to making decisions and feeling confident without their manager’s input.

When dealing with critical phases or urgent projects, the initial slow-down can result in delays and missed deadlines.

Is not suitable for all projects or employees

Highly complex projects or teams with less experienced members may still require a certain degree of hands-on supervision.

You should assess your projects and team capabilities before choosing the macromanagement style of leadership. If misapplied, it could lead to costly mistakes, confusion, or failed projects.

6 tips to macromanage effectively

How do you strike the perfect balance between autonomy and guidance? Use the six tips below to help you macromanage effectively:

1. Set crystal-clear expectations

A good macromanager knows that clarity is key to a productive and self-sufficient team. To give your team a true target to aim for, define your company’s specific goals and desired outcomes. This includes clarifying roles and responsibilities to ensure everyone's efforts align.

Clearly outline KPIs to track progress. These should be measurable and directly tied to your long-term goals.

For example, if the goal is to increase sales, a KPI could be the number of new leads generated. Also, remember to be transparent with deadlines and milestones.

With Motion, you can set and track your team’s progress easily against set KPIs. Our platform gives you real-time insights into team performance, helping you course-correct when needed.

Track team KPIs and progress

‎2. Hire the right people

This is often easier said than done. But taking the time to identify individuals who will thrive in a macromanaged environment will make your life easier in the long run.

Prioritize self-motivated people who are open to this management style. Not everyone is comfortable with lots of autonomy, and that’s okay. Also, find employees who are proactive and comfortable taking ownership.

Here are a few tips to steer you in the right direction:

  • Look for a track record of initiative and problem-solving in their past roles.
  • During interviews, use behavioral questions to gauge the candidate’s comfort level with ambiguity and independent work.
  • Ask candidates how they prefer to receive feedback. Those comfortable with constructive criticism and self-assessment are often a good fit for macromanagement.

Ideally, you’ll want to recruit a diverse team with complementary skills since a well-rounded group is more capable of tackling challenges from multiple angles.

3. Get a high-level view of team progress

Schedule regular check-ins for quick status updates. These could include brief standup meetings or short progress updates via email. The goal is to stay up-to-date on projects’ overall progress so you can identify blind spots and address them quickly.

Motion gives you a high-level view of your team’s progress. See what everyone on the team is doing and how far projects have come along.

See team and project progress

‎4. Keep communication lines open

Communication is what keeps a macromanaged team running smoothly. Dedicate clear channels for regular feedback, updates, and idea exchange.

Moreover, it’s important to create an environment that encourages open communication. Employees need to feel comfortable raising concerns and asking for help when needed. Here are a few strategies you could try:

  • Implement an open-door policy where you’re always available for questions and discussions.
  • Encourage peer-to-peer feedback to foster a culture where team members help each other grow.
  • Create a space for open dialog by hosting regular "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions for your team.

5. Make space for flow

Have you heard of Ikigai? This Japanese concept, roughly translated as “reason for being,” centers around the idea of flow — being fully immersed in an activity and achieving a state of focus and peak performance.

In order for your team to achieve flow, avoid interrupting them mid-task. Each interruption breaks their flow. It’s important to trust your team members to manage their own work independently.

Protect focused work time to allow for a state of deep concentration. Use Motion to time block designated hours for deep work, where no interruptions are allowed unless absolutely necessary. This action signals to both your team and yourself that during those times, focus is the priority.

Time block deep focus time

‎6. Stay involved and adaptable

Macromanagement requires flexibility and responsiveness. Stay attuned to your team’s progress and challenges, and provide the resources and support they need to succeed.

Also, be prepared to adjust your approach. Effective macromanagement is a fluid process. Sometimes, you may need to provide more guidance or step in directly — especially during new projects or challenging phases. Be observant and adaptable, ready to switch up your leadership style to fit the situation and your team's needs.

If you sense your team is struggling, schedule meetings with them to address the issues they’re having and provide guidance. Motion’s meeting assistant helps you quickly see everyone’s availability and schedule meetings at the ideal times.

Empower your team with Motion

Achieve the best outcomes in a macromanaged work environment. Motion fuels macromanagers and their teams with the tools to boost autonomy, communication, and teamwork. Try Motion for free today.

Vicki Chen
Vicki Chen is a content writer and marketer using proven storytelling methods to create high-quality copy and content for SaaS companies. When she's not writing, she's spending time with Taco, her rescue dog.
Written by Vicki Chen