I've worked with managers exhibiting a wide variety of management styles.

I've seen laissez fair style management where anything goes and everyone is responsible for both their own successes and failures. In some cases, where the team itself is built of highly responsible, talented, self-managing individuals this can be successful. But it's despite the management style rather than because of it.

I've seen intense micromanagement, where managers spend more time checking in on their team than they do pushing deliverables of their own. Unfortunately, this management style is prone to uncountable limitations. Among them, the team cannot function in the absence of a manager whose sign off is required for every decision. What's more, the team can't ever grow beyond the manager's oversight ability.

Both management styles are efficient ways to set your team up for failure. In the first, just one inexperienced addition who needs help can make the entire house of minimally managed cards fall. In the second, the team is doomed to never grow, either in terms of size or responsibility.

How Does Your Team Function?

Sometimes, it's hard to see your management style without someone else pointing it out to you. I've been simultaneously (i.e. by members of the same team) accused of being both managerial archetypes I cite above. The irony is that I aim to be neither.

Instead, I give experienced members of teams I manage plenty of bandwidth to grow and experiment. I keep an eye on everyone, but just so I'm ready to help if asked. Micromanagement drives me crazy, so I can't in good conscience force it on others.

But when my teams really shine is when I let them self-lead. When I take a week for vacation and leave someone else in charge of following up on projects, it's amazing to see how everyone steps up. Jobs continue to get done. Projects continue to ship. The team continues to grow.

When you take yourself out of the equation, even for a day or two, you can see how healthy of a team dynamic you've helped create. Take a day. Take a week. Just step away for a while and see how your team operates without you on-hand to make decisions. If you're surprised, it might be time to make an adjustment or two.