Some people who manage other people micromanage them because they have the need to control what their subordinates or employees do. There can be good reasons such as safety or training. Or maybe the end product is going out in the name of the higher up or under the name of the company they own or manage. In those cases the end product, whether a letter or a widget, reflects on the company, its owner or whoever is sending it out. But having control of the end product is different from micromanaging the process for that end product.

You may think you have the best way to manufacture the widget or are a better writer than whoever is drafting something your that will go out under your name. But if you train your people well and then let them control the process, amazing things can happen. George S. Patton said “If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results.” This is how products or processes are improved because innovation happens when people have a starting point and an ending point, but also have the opportunity to think outside of the box.

So the next time you want to tell you employee or subordinate how to do something for you, maybe you should try telling them what you need and let them carve the path. You will either get the same end result as if you micromanaged them, or be surprised by what they come up with. Either way you get what you want, but one path leave the door open for innovation, as well as employees who know you trust them to do their job.