What Is a Macro Manager?

A macro manager is a type of boss or supervisor who takes a more hands-off approach and lets employees do their jobs with minimal direct supervision. This style of leadership is referred to as macromanagement. Macro managers can be thought of by some employees as supervisors who do not give them enough support or feedback to do their jobs effectively, while others may be glad to be trusted and left alone.

A macro manager is the opposite of a micromanager, a supervisor who constantly looks over employees' shoulders and is often perceived as controlling and overly critical.

Key Takeaways

  • A macro manager is a hands-off boss who trusts his or her employees to do their jobs as they see best.
  • Macro managers are more concerned with overall plans and results than individual styles or day-to-day habits.
  • Macro managers can be accused of being aloof and out of touch with daily issues.

Understanding Macromanagement

In managing a firm and its employees, different management styles come in to play. Macromanagement and macro managers take a birds-eye-view approach, with top-down management decisions that weigh aggregated metrics and aggregate performance. Adopting a macromanagement leadership style can include delegating authority and responsibilities, while the manager focuses their attention on developing and executing the overall strategy for the team.

The term "macro manager" can also describe someone who runs a global macro hedge fund. Global macro managers need to have a broad knowledge base to understand big-picture influences on investment performance in the global marketplace. Such influences include political events, government policies, and the way different countries' central banks function. George Soros, Julian Robertson, and Michael Steinhardt are well-known global macro managers.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Macro Managers

Macromangement may be seen as beneficial and suitable for upper tiers of an organization’s hierarchy, as it grants employees room to act with more autonomy. For example, an executive leader of a division within an organization may task the staff who works under them to adhere to an overall strategic plan but make their own decisions on how best to execute that strategy. Likewise, the president of a company may present broad ideas to the executive team they lead and rely on their individual expertise to take action rather than give them orders that cover the minutest details.

There can be drawbacks to working with a macro manager. They may be distant and not directly informed about the day-to-day issues the team faces. It can take time before they are made aware of problems or challenges the team must deal with.

Furthermore, a macro manager could be seen as little more as than an extra layer of bureaucracy, with limited activity interest in the tasks at hand. Their minimal direct involvement with subordinates can be regarded as a lack of awareness or understanding of the work each employee is asked to perform. This can affect the team’s ability to achieve milestones and meet deadlines if the manager is not fully aware of obstacles that may impede the team’s ability to take action.