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The Folly of Micromanagement

The Folly of Micromanagement
There are all kinds of approaches to managing groups of people. It appears that micromanagement is accepted as a valid alternative by many practitioners (not necessarily theoreticians). Ladies and gentlemen – where is the logic in this approach? Just for arguments sake, let us say you are heading an organization with 100 professionals. Assuming that they are all functional, intelligent and active, that makes at minimum 8X100 = 800 hours a day during which there is some kind of creative activity going on. The micromanager has at most 24 hours in the day, which represents 3% of the total activity. That means it is physically and logistically impossible to understand or follow what the 100 people in your organization think and do. So, the only thing that the micro-manager can resort to is pick and choose. I have yet to see an algorithm or a methodology by which a micro-manager can pick the most pressing problem to deal with on any given day.
Consequently, he picks haphazardly – one might as well have a monkey draw lots from a hat. Nothing good can ever come from that. On the one hand, the manager is neither paying attention to the big picture, nor is he leading the team. On the other hand, this style generates nothing but fear in the ones subject to it. Fear may be a good motivator for a hamster in a treadmill to run faster. However, intelligent humans will find ways to deal with their fear that are counterproductive, such as covering up or doing as little as possible for fear of making mistakes.

Bottom line: Get the right people on the bus, put them in an enabling organization, set the overall direction, check with them once in a while and WATCH THEM DO GREAT THINGS.

And in case you do not know what to do with the new-found time: read my book “Deep Undercover – my Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America”


Jack Barsky is a retired Information Technology executive with over thirty years of experience. Jack graduated as valedictorian with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baruch College, New York. He also holds a Master's Degree in Chemistry from the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena Germany.

What makes Jack unique is the fact that he was born and raised in East Germany where he was recruited by the KGB. During the 1980s he spent ten years as an undercover illegal agent in the United States spying for the Soviet Union. Today he is a United States citizen whose life story was featured in May of 2015 on CBS 60 Minutes. His memoir Deep Undercover was released on March 21, 2017. The book has been translated into German, Swedish and Polish. Jack's story has received international attention with features on British, French, German, Polish, Turkish and Japanese TV. In the United States Jack has appeared on, among others, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, The Daily Show, A&E, and the Glenn Beck Program.

Rather than retiring to the golf course, Jack has embarked on his sixth career as an author, public speaker and blogger. To date he has given more than 100 lectures and presentations both across the United States and in Europe. Jack lives with his wife and eleven-year-old daughter in Covington, Georgia.

You may also contact Jack at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.


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