By Larry Dignan
Posting in Government
Is President Barack Obama a micromanager? The Wall Street Journal has an interesting take on Obama's management style and asks a question that vexes e...
Is President Barack Obama a micromanager?
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting take on Obama's management style and asks a question that vexes every manager and executive on the planet: How much detail is enough?
The Journal goes into great detail about how Obama gets into the weeds on economic matters. Minutiae about credit and the interplay with risk, consumer debt and derivative regulation are all at play.
However, Obama is like every other manager. Some things get the micromanagement treatment and other topics don't. Take health care for instance. Obama may know every little nuance of health care, but has allowed Congress to run off with various incomprehensible bills. Wouldn't a micromanager at least provide a list of things that are off limits or just plain stupid? Is that micromanagement or leadership?
You can talk this topic in circles pretty easily. Whether micromanagement works or not isn't known until it's too late. Should a CEO know every nuance of his company? The answer: It depends.
Want more evidence that micromanagement is a murky topic? Check out our sister site BNET. The site has a topic page just focused on micromanagement. Some of it reads like a therapy session. Consider:
- The Perils Of Government Micromanaging The Auto Business
- Micromanagement = Lost Sales
- Micromanaging Defined -- And How to Avoid It
The general theme is that micromanagement isn't good overall, but it can be useful from time to time. We don't know how Obama will turn out, but he may want to be wary of the micromanagement definition.
Micromanagement: a style of management where a manager becomes over-involved in the details of the work of subordinates, resulting in the manager making every decision in an organization, no matter how trivial. Micromanagement is a euphemism for meddling, and has the opposite effect to empowerment. Micromanagement can retard the progress of organizational development, as it robs employees of their self-respect.
To sum it up and micromanagement is a bad thing, but you sometimes have to partake in it. Experiment a lot like Obama and don't kill the confidence of your employees. Confused? Me too.
Aug 12, 2009
Two individuals with PHDs in Industrial Psychology recently highlighted the issue of micromanagement. They focused on the obvious problems of over-managing capable professionals, but also touched on the reality that some claims of micromanagement are false. In some cases employees perceive being ???aggressively managed??? either because they are incompetent, or simply do not like being managed (this point of view is presented at http://www.transassoc.com/whatismicromngt).
Obama goes both directions to an extreme. He is either 100 over micro manageing things or he lets his staff have free run and we get stupid incidents like the NY fly-by with Air Force One. It is going to bite him in the butt one day.
Reagan was an amazingly smart person. His aids always had to remove the numbers from his speeches, because Reagan loved statistics and knew how to interpret them intelligently. But his aids expected that his speeches would just be completely lost on the average voter. Reagan read and quoted such luminaries as Frederic Bastiat. He showed great intelligence when he talked about the economy, incentives and the best way to win the cold war - which he accomplished without firing a single rocket at the USSR. To think that this is the man the media - especially in Europe - used to call "stupid", while a total loser who fucked up everything he touched like Carter is still referred to as "smart" just raises gigantic questions about the self-appointed "experts" on intelligence in the media, such as their own inability to recognize true intelligence when they see it.
Seriously, the claim that Carter or Obama are "smart" is pretty painful, considering their actions. Anyone who supports socialist ideas can't be too bright - unless they're evil and cynical, like Lenin. Smart people know that socialism will never work because it cannot work. So if Obama thinks that government health care works, he's pretty stupid. And if he doesn't believe that it will actually do what he says but that it will make him popular anyway, he's evil. Of course it's entirely possible to be evil AND stupid.
I think "W" had the right idea. He treated it with the knowledge he gained as a baseball team manager. You want the best pitcher, you find the best pitcher and hire him/her. You want a great secretary of state, find the best and hire them. Then hands off, let them do their job. You can't go out and pitch for a pitcher, hire people and let them do their job, nobody can do it all, you generally just make things worse. Interesting post
Jimmy Carter is another Demodent whose "fata flaw" was Micromanaging. He and Obama are likely the two smartest men to become President since ... FDR? Lincoln? Just goes to show that even the brightest bulbs have got to know when not to shine.