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Micro Management

In Bizz Magazine this month, there is an article on Micro Management (see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micromanagement).

I have met this kind of management in the past and I have really suffered from it.

According to Bizz, Micro management can be caused by :

  1. lack of self-confidence resulting in lack of confidence in others ( = do you know what you are doing ?)
  2. under-estimation of the other capabilities (do you know what others know ? (= do you know your team ? If 1 is not there, than 2 can't be there as you will never be able to evaluate others)
  3. Excessive control and pressure from top management cascading down to the bottom levels of the hierarchy (do you have guts ? Probably if you don't have self-confidence you will not have the guts to say NO to the top management)

What can we deduce from this on the competences that do you need to be the manager ?

My belief is that a company's added value is related to its technology. By technology I mean the foundations of the business: know-how, products, knowledge, technology, experience... A manager that doesn't master that "technology" (and works in a vertical business unit) is in a bad position: he doesn't know what needs to be done, where, how and why. In order to control the activities that he doesn't understand he needs more and more reporting and explanations. Its management style will probably become a micro management style.

Of course a manager must be able to delegate and is not supposed to know all details on HOW tasks will be done. But in order to delegate you first need to know WHAT you delegate. This is where some basic techical competences are required.

Therefore, from the micro-management definition, I can push my idea that a good manager must first of all be competent in the "technicality of the business". Micro-Managers are gangsters who managed to reach high positions by being political, opportunistic or by seducing the top management with buzzwords (ROI, Capitalize, Alignement, BLA BLA BLA with a nice smile).

What about the so-called non-techical competences ? (By the way, is there any comptence that is not "technical" ?)

  • Sales Management ? if your engineer can show your customer the company is very good for what they want to buy, they will buy. Communication and negociation skills are "technical" competences of the sales rep, not of the manager.
  • People Management ? I believe many people manage their personal relationships much better than a lot of top managers.

My belief is that the best managers know their industry and their technologies very well. Some examples ? Bill Gates (Microsoft), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Hasso Plattner (SAP). If you know counter examples send them to me by email (See Contact Information ). Send along a proof that they are successfull and why it's non-technical, of course. I'll put them on this page.

There is only one clever way for a non-technical manager to be a good manager : empower his team and drive competences forward. Put the right people at the right place to drive revenue. This is what good CEOs do. They have the luxury that they don't need any business specific technical competences. It's a nice to have. Their only required technical competence is Business Portfolio Management (Show me the money!). They have to grow what's good for the company and cut what's dead. For the rest, they need a big EGO, a lot of political support and to negociate a golden parachute...

Last edited on Saturday, June 17, 2006 at 0:10:14 am.

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