Thoughts on Life & Leadership

A Junto Strategy Project

You’re not good at something, so let’s make you do more of it.

Does that sound like good management advice? To me it looks like a recipe for organizational and performance failure. This idea, however, was recently put forward by the executive editor of Inc. magazine. In his piece on “The Micromanager’s Guide to Delegation,” Scott Leib writes that one of the four things you can do to overcome micromanaging tendencies is to:

“Have more people report to you. By increasing your so-called span of control, you can force yourself to delegate, simply because you can’t micromanage the activities of so many people. The result? You will have more time to get your claws into the tasks that really matter.”

Forcing oneself to delegate is hardly a realistic approach to being successful over the long-term. The reality is that doing more of something you are already not doing well tends to exacerbate the problem not make it better.

Mr. Leib’s article is a good reminder that when looking for direction and advice on leadership development or organizational effectiveness or most other subjects, opinion can’t take the place of real research. Much of what passes as thought leadership (on management topics especially) often lacks real data behind it. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find real wisdom in the pages of Inc., Forbes, BusinessWeek, etc. We just have to be ready to question or as President Reagan famously said in repeating an old Russian proverb, “Trust, but verify.”

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