June 04, 2009

Management: How Much?

"That government is best which governs the least."

Henry David Thoreau

Whether it be government, a boat's tiller, a fly fishing rod or business management, for many the message is less is more.



  1. You're asking for it with this one.

    We are emerging from a "light (government) hand on the tiller" to deep government involvement some would call pure socialism.

    Which is the right way to go is what you want to know, right?

  2. Actually what I want is whatever interpretation you come up with, which in your case Anonymous, appears to be political.

    That works; however, how "heavy" should management's hand be in business?

    We all know managers range from largely to almost completely hands off to doing things themselves rather than trusting someone else.

    Which is best and if both, how do you strike balance?

  3. Funny but previously I've not thought about "management" being a company's "government" but that is what it is. And like government, management is suppose to make the laws all of its employees must live by, leaving them alone to do their jobs as long as they do.

    But you're right that many managers are not content just making rules, telling others what they expect. Many simply cannot delegate assuming responsible behavior on the part of their employees.

    Has anyone ever seen a measurement system that rates managers on how much they do that is the responsibility of someone else? That would be interesting. Do too much of someone else's job and you are no longer a manager.

    By the way, I am an engineering manager and suspect that our profession more than others, has trouble delegating.

  4. I don't know of any systems per se but the following from Business Balls (www.businessballs.com) does a good job of defining levels of delegation.

    Rate yourself against these 10 to see how much you delegate.

    1 "Wait to be told." or "Do exactly what I say." or "Follow these instructions precisely."

    2 "Look into this and tell me the situation. I'll decide."

    3 "Look into this and tell me the situation. We'll decide together."

    4 "Tell me the situation and what help you need from me in assessing and handling it. Then we'll decide."

    5 "Give me your analysis of the situation (reasons, options, pros and cons) and recommendation. I'll let you know whether you can go ahead."

    6 "Decide and let me know your decision, and wait for my go-ahead before proceeding."

    7 "Decide and let me know your decision, then go ahead unless I say not to."

    8 "Decide and take action - let me know what you did (and what happened)."

    9 "Decide and take action. You need not check back with me."

    10 "Decide where action needs to be taken and manage the situation accordingly. It's your area of responsibility now."

  5. Before I read the list of ten, if you had asked me where I would be on a 1 to 10 list regarding delegation, I would have guessed a 6 or 7. Being honest, I came out a 2.

    I have some things to think over regarding my management style