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The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Micromanagement is an effective leadership principle (2)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 1/27/2016 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 506 times Debate No: 85641
Debate Rounds (4)
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"If you want something done right, do it yourself." - Napoleon Bonaparte

Micromanagement (as a general rule) is an effective managing style for government and business leaders. Con will argue the opposite.

Micromanagement - a managing style whereby a manager/leader closely observes or controls the work of subordinates or employees.

Effectiveness - The degree to which objectives are achieved and the extent to which targeted problems are solved. In contrast to efficiency, effectiveness is determined without reference to costs and, whereas efficiency means "doing the thing right," effectiveness means "doing the right thing." [1]

  • The effectiveness of the new software was pleasing to the whole team as it was a joy to use by all.


This challenge goes to sengejuri.

3)counter arguments / rebuttals
4)rebuttals / conclusions


I accept. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks, Con.

To begin, there is a common misconception in the government and business worlds, which is that micromanagers by definition are bad.

According to wikipedia (a source for layman terms) micromanagers are "workplace bullys" and "narcissistic individuals" who not only tell subordinates what to do but also dictate to them that a job be done in a certain way [1]. Micromanagers often require constant and deliberate performance updates on behalf of employees whereas they themselves are either directly involved in doing the employee's work or excessively monitoring it for perfectionist details [1]. Most employees and leadership schools again, tend to see micromanagement as a bad practice for leading people.

Truth be told however, micromanagement is not so much an effective solution for making subordinates feel good as it is for ensuring that a complex labor system of processes, products, marketing, negotiating, financing, and final assembly produces results, even in times of hardship or general incompetence.

Here are the reasons why it actually pays to be a micromanager in a systems world:

Ensuring Workplace Competence & Accuracy

CEOs, middle managers, and department heads who are directly involved in a subordinates work have greater ability to ensure that performance standards are met, even when that employee or the company itself is incompetent. Micromanagers tend to be subject-matter experts who bring passion, attention to detail, managerial power, experience, and intimate knowledge of the business to the work at hand. When a micromanager steps in to do or control operations, the leadership gap between workers' execution and corporate vision is eliminated. The company is thus ensured that work is being done by its most capable and powerful hands (the leader & surgeon general himself) according to leadership expectations.

Superior Problem Solving

Micromanagement, when strategically applied, is superior to delegating when it comes to solving problems. For the same reasons listed above, a leader directly observing work can better obtain tools and implement creative solutions immediately needed to solve problems. Comparatively, a subordinate cannot call on the same level of resources or make the same decisions that a corporate executive can. And unlike times when a leader is removed from the action, a micromanager is able to receive immediate updates and closely monitor the progress of a situtation by involving themselves deep within the work. When a micromanager is on station, solving a problem is guaranteed to get first priority and nothing is left to trust.

Greater Workplace Efficiency & Competitive Advantages

A final criticism you might hear about micromanagement is that micromanagers are inherently ineffective because a micromanager cannot possible be in two places at once. Micromanagement is also claimed to be inefficient because it stifles employee creativity by disallowing any dissent or deviation from company standards. Delegating then, is superior to micromanagement for the all important sake of gathering feedback needed to quickly implement workplace changes to an ever changing competitive business environment. On the contrary, bureaucracies are inefficient! And having many competing tiers of managers and layers upon layers of hierarchal social structure and procedures and professional distance is the biggest reason why low-level work goes unnoticed and decisions from the top don't get implemented. Micromanagers who are willing to deeply involved themselves in the work of the company and put themselves in the shoes of employees are far more capable then at learning the ins and outs of a business and implement effective procedural changes without needing to worry so much about bureaucracy. As general rule then, micromanagers are some of the most knowledgable and most efficient change agents there are.

That's all I have for now. Looking forward to R2.



The premise here is "Micromanagement is an Effective Leadership Principle." Since, in this debate, effective is defined as "doing the right thing," the question we are asking can be portrayed as "are micromanagers doing the right thing?" I say no.

For my opening argument, I will contrast micromanagers with managers and seek to uphold the merits of the latter. Using our agreed definitions, I will compare leaders who closely observe and control the work of subordinates (micromanagers) to leaders who do not closely observe or control it (managers).

Three principle reasons expose why micromanagement is not doing the right thing:

1) Micromanagement is inefficient - By its very definition, micromanagement means inefficiency. If a manager is closely controlling the work of a subordinate, it has the effect of two people doing the same job. As an example, imagine my two hands typing this sentence on the keyboard. Imagine that my left hand is a micromanager obsessed with typing the letters "k" and "o." Every time I needed to use one of these letters, the left hand crossed over and punched the key rather than simply letting the right hand take care of it. This would make typing much slower. This same scenario plays out in businesses across the world in the form of excessive meetings, reports, updates, and checks. The destructive nature of this activity is twofold. First, it prevents subordinates from fully accomplishing their assigned tasks (the right hand cannot type a "k" or "o" without interference from the left). Second, the manager is no longer able to fully focus on their tasks, because they are busy controlling the work of others (it takes longer for the left hand to return to the left side of the keyboard after typing an "o"). As the Harvard Business Review observes: "The problem with micromanagers is that they apply the same level of intensity, scrutiny, and in-your-face approach to every task, whether warranted or not." [1] This is the very definition of inefficiency - wasting intensity and effort on unnecessary things.

2. Micromanagement demoralizes people - When a micromanager closely controls your work, it appears like they don't trust you. It is patronizing, and it demoralizes the workforce. A micromanager makes the organization dependent on them - they must personally check the work and ensure its quality. According to Jim Collins, the renowned business strategist and author of "Good to Great," this behavior is incredibly destructive. His research confirms that CEOs who insist on personal control often see their companies crumble after their retirement because the organization became so dependent on their singular supervision [2]. The Harvard Business Review confirms: "You create an organizational vulnerability when your team isn't used to functioning without your presence and heavy involvement." [3] I have personally experienced this many times in the military. I once had a Brigade Commander attach himself to a patrol I was in charge of, whereby he immediately took my vehicle seat and radio and began directly communicating with my platoon. I found myself thinking "if he doesn't trust me enough to lead this patrol, then why am I even here?" It was extremely demoralizing and made me lose credibility with the Soldiers I was supposed to be in charge of. It stifled the motivation I had for excelling at a task I was legitimately passionate about, and the same thing happens every time a micromanager steps in to "save the day."

3. Micromanagement makes it harder to see the big picture - Managers differ from workers by thinking strategically. Managers are supposed to focus on the big picture and guide the efforts of their workers towards it. Yet, when a manager dives into the micro level, they cannot do this as well. By closely controlling lower level work, micromanagers get bombarded with details and it becomes difficult to understand what is relevant and what is not. This can lead to confusion and distraction, which often transcends in strategic mistakes. When micromanagers try to focus excessively on details, they require ever more input to make sense of them. This destroys the productivity of subordinates. As business researcher Yves Morieux puts it, "the more complicated the organization, the more difficult it is to understand what is really happening. So we need summaries, proxies, reports, key performance indicators, metrics. . . people spend their time in meetings, writing reports they have to do, undo, and redo. . . teams in these organizations spend between 40 and 80 percent of their time wasting their time." [4] The vital role a manager fills is thinking strategically and keeping the big picture in focus. A micromanager by definition must surrender this focus, and therefore risks losing their strategic vision.

For these reasons, micromanagement is not doing the right thing. Micromanagement is not effective.

[2] Collins, Jim. "Good to Great" Ch. 1
Debate Round No. 2


I think it’s important for us to remember here that "doing the right thing" means getting results. Our definition of an effective leader therefore, does not necessarily include being well-liked by subordinates.

Steve Jobs for instance was an "in your face" control-freak and micro-dictator who hovered over his Apple engineers with an iron-fist, and yet -despite pushing people to near perfect standards – he was still able to get results.(1) Walt Disney, another famous control-freak, is said to have obsessed about "every detail" of "every ride" at every single one of his Disney World theme parks.(2) And John D. Rockefeller, along with the great Andrew Carnegie, were both obsessive micromanagers who prioritized visiting and attending the everyday problems of individual factories above their own families (4). Micromanaging of course did not make Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, John D. Rockefeller, or Mr. Carnegie very popular with employees, but the lasting results of their attention to detail and uncompromising standards for perfection speaks for itself. Micromanagement gets results.


1) Micromanagement is inefficient

"If a manager is closely controlling the work of a subordinate, it has the effect of two people doing the same job."

This perspective is incorrect when a job is hard or a subordinate is incompetent. If a manager is vastly more experienced and vastly more skilled than a subordinate, we can believe that taking on a difficult job of a weak subordinate has effect of the job 'getting done.' Micromanagement therefore, along with getting things right the first time, is vastly more efficient than trying to correct for worker's errors and having to pay for costs later.

"As an example, imagine my two hands typing this sentence on the keyboard."

The metaphor of using two hands to type on a keyboard generally does not relate well to the real business world of people, processes, products, marketing, negotiating, financing, and high-tech assembly. However, if it did, then as the popular saying goes; it’s always effective for the Left Hand to know what the Right Hand is doing. This quote of course, justifies the closes observation of a subordinates work by micromanagers, and stands as a metaphor for the organizational inefficiencies that can be expected when different members of the same organization are allowed to pursue different goals. With micromanagement emplace, a manager is therefore better able to synchronize the work of subordinates to actual leadership goals by purposefully observing or controlling their work.

"the manager is no longer able to fully focus on their tasks, because they are busy controlling the work of others"

If one of the roles of a manager is to get things done and accomplish an objective by directing people, I fail to see how this is not a productive use of their time.

"The problem with micromanagers is that they apply the same level of intensity, scrutiny, and in-your-face approach to every task, whether warranted or not." [1] This is the very definition of inefficiency - wasting intensity and effort on unnecessary things."

Applying the same level of intensity, energy, enthusiasm, attitude, and standards of excellence to every single work related task is the hallmark of a true leader. I would love to be led by a manger who committed himself to a high standard of excellence in everything he did - trivial or not. Con's quote then is a definition of leadership excellence and not of inefficiencies.

2. Micromanagement demoralizes people

"When a micromanager closely controls your work, it appears like they don't trust you."

When a micromanager closely controls your work, it means he cares about the work and the well-being of the whole organization. The business should always be bigger than the individual, and a hands-off leader who lets the business fail for the sake of not stepping on people's toes will demoralize employees and hurt more people far more than a micromanager ever will when everybody loses their pay checks because the business is failing.

"-they must personally check the work and ensure its quality."

A company and its customers can take great pride then in having produced and received a superior product and also in having accomplished high standards. Steve Jobs and the success of th Apple IPhones and IPads are my chosen examples.

"I have personally experienced this (micromanagement) many times in the military."

As always, I'm very grateful for Con's military service and hope to learn from him. However, one of the most outstanding leadership expectations of a modern military officer -whom I have had some opportunities to learn about and shadow- is that duty must come before relationships. A commander whom attaches himself to the personal execution of a mission, and abandoned his family and friends in the process to deploy overseas does so because the military mission is so vitally important that it must be done and must be done correctly. In missions and operations where the security of the country is at stake (along with soldier's lives), the United States Armed Forces cannot afford to fail in its mission.

3. Micromanagement makes it harder to see the big picture -

"Managers are supposed to focus on the big picture and guide the efforts of their workers towards it. Yet, when a manager dives into the micro level, they cannot do this as well."

We can believe Con's leadership analysis above is incorrect because as a supervisor deeply involves himself in the everyday operations and smaller details of a business, he in fact learns more about the company. By learning more about the company and products, in addition to removing the communication gap between leadership vision and worker execution –which is done through intense personal involvement- micromanagers are able to make more strategic and more intelligent policy decisions. Very quickly then, Henry Ford is my chosen example. Henry Ford of course, immersed himself in the analysis of the very smallest, tiniest work-related details of car manufacturing from beginning to end where he found out the most efficient (and cost effective) ways of doing things (5). As a result of his close observation of subordinates work, intense involvement in the company and obsession for minute details, Henry Ford is credited with perfecting the Assembly Line, the modern pinnacle of workplace & cost efficiency.

"This (micromangment) destroys the productivity of subordinates."

I disagree. However, even if true, an absence of productivity on behalf of subordinates does not prove a lack of results on behalf of a company if it is still producing results. Micromanagement then is often a strong leadership solution for employee incompetence and situations calling for creative problem solving.


Micromanagement improves the productivity of subordinates.

A micromanager improves the productivity of subordinates by deeply involving themselves within the work of subordinates where he can teach them about core-competencies. Core-competencies are defined as "a unique ability that a company acquires from its founders and leaders that cannot be easily imitated. Core competencies are what give a company one or more competitive advantages, in creating and delivering value to its customers in its chosen field" (6). Core-competencies of course, is just a fancy way for describing the best way of doing things, which is most often learned by imitating and observing people of competency and experience.

In addition to the above, micromanages bring managerial power to front-line work and can force uncooperative workers to take on challenging tasks they otherwise wouldn't do. Micromanagement also bridges the direction gap between top-level vision and low-level execution often found in large slow moving bureaucracies when managers are absent from the everyday work of low level employees.








== Rebuttal ==

Pro's opening argument leads us to believe that micromanagers are super hero geniuses whose "most capable and powerful hands" swoop in to save helpless subordinates from themselves. I am willing to admit there are rare instances where this may be true. Pro brings up Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Carnegie, and Rockefeller, who do indeed represent exceptional genius in their respective fields. But, according to Pro's intro, the premise is that micromanagement is effective as a general rule.
Pro cannot merely point to exceptions, but rather must prove the rule that micromanagement is effective. Let’s examine Pro’s first three arguments:

1) Ensuring Workplace Competence & Accuracy

Pro makes many unwarranted assumptions under this point. He claims that micromanagers are “subject-matter experts who bring passion, attention to detail, managerial power, experience, and intimate knowledge of the business to the work at hand.” Yet, Pro gives us no reason or evidence to assume this is generally true. What if the manager does not have these qualities? Many, even most managers are not passionate subject-matter experts with intimate knowledge. Jewelry store managers do not have greater attention to detail than the jewelers themselves. Construction managers do not have more intimate knowledge of the machinery than the actual operators. Military officers are often placed in charge of enlisted soldiers who have many more years of experience than them. In fact, the highest officer title, General, is derived from being a “generalist” who manages the broad force rather than being a subject matter expert (for this reason, Generals remove the branch insignia from their uniforms to signify they no longer identify with a specific branch). We have much evidence to believe that micromanagers are not, in fact, more passionate or intelligent than their employees, which negates Pro’s entire point. Finally, Pro says that when micromanagers step in, the “leadership gap between workers’ execution and corporate vision is eliminated.” Of course there would be no gaps when leaders step into workers' jobs! This only confirms my point that micromanagement has the effect of two people doing the same job, which is inefficient and destructive. Pro’s argument so far has fallen short.

2) Superior Problem Solving

Fast problem solving is not necessarily superior problem solving. I agree that micromanagers can receive immediate updates and rapidly solve problems. But this is a Straw Man argument – Pro ignores the destructive second and third order effects. In many cases, a manager does not need immediate updates. Sometimes input is wrong or incomplete, and if a leader has immediate access to it they can jump to wrong conclusions. Similarly, the ability to immediately solve low level problems is destructive. Micromanagers waste time fixing irrelevant or unimportant issues, thereby neglecting to focus on the big picture and strategic problems. For example, allow me to return to the Brigade Commander leading my patrol. If we had been attacked that day, the Brigade Commander would be in a perfect position to immediately identify the enemy and employ my platoon to defeat them. He could have called for air support and might have even saved lives. However…. that would be a total waste of his focus. He was in charge of all combat operations across two entire provinces, and our patrol was moving through a small insignificant village. At any given moment, multiple platoons could be attacked across the area, and he would be neglecting all of them but mine. In addition, he was neglecting his strategic level focus of tracking all units’ movements across the battlefield, meeting with government officials in the provincial capital, and managing the bigger picture. On that day, he certainly had the ability to immediately solve problems for my platoon, but it wasn’t his job to solve problems for my platoon, it was my job, and he was preventing me from doing it.

Pro has, once again, indirectly confirmed my initial argument. Immediately accessing input and solving problems makes it easier for leaders to get distracted and confused. When leaders involve themselves “deep within the work,” they are more likely to get lost in the details and make mistakes. This is the whole reason why managers hire employees – to handle the immediate problems so the manager is freed up to think big picture. If, as Pro suggests, “nothing is left to trust” under a micromanager, then I would question why they are hiring people they can’t trust in the first place. Micromanagement is not superior problem solving, it is inefficient and dangerous problem solving.

3) Greater Workplace Efficiency & Competitive Advantages

On this point, Pro mistakenly contrasts micromanagement with bureaucracy. Pro claims that bureaucracy comes from a lack of micromanagement, but the opposite is actually true - bureaucracy is the essence of micromanagement! Everything we call “bureaucratic red tape” is a symptom of micromanagement. Every time you have to fill out a form, write a report, attend a meeting (or ten), and submit a product for review means someone above you doesn’t fully trust you. A micromanager somewhere above you doesn’t fully trust you to do your job, so they need to review your form, read your report, hear your update in a meeting, and check your work. Contrast this with normal management, where employees are given the freedom to innovate and the trust that boosts motivation, punctuated by only periodic and appropriate quality checks. Which system would you rather work in? I choose the latter.

Next, Pro contradicts their first point about micromanagers being all-knowing subject matter experts. According to Pro, micromanagers learn “the ins and outs of a business” by “put[ting] themselves in the shoes of employees.” So which one is it? Do micromanagers bring “intimate knowledge of the business to the work at hand” or are they in need of learning the “ins and outs” by giving themselves on the job training? Either way Pro falls short. Pro has given us no reason to accept the former as generally true, and the latter would be a poor excuse for a manager. Pro has not compellingly showing that micromanagement provides any benefit to efficiency or competitive advantage.

== Counter Arguments ==

In Round 3, Pro oversimplifies the premise by saying “effective” simply means “getting results.” I hope to avoid excessive semantics, but the bar for effective management cannot be this low. Hitler got results, Saddam Hussein got results, Douglas Haig got results. I submit that we continue using Pro’s definition in Round 1 of “doing the right thing.” Nowhere in my argument did I suggest a manager must be well liked by subordinates. I did suggest, however, that a manager must ensure subordinates stay creative and motivated.

Pro suggests that a micromanager who does the job of a weak subordinate is simply getting the job done. I would counter with why that manager is hiring weak subordinates in the first place? An effective manager who is doing the right thing would fire that worker, and hire someone more capable rather than continuing to pay the salary of an incompetent subordinate.

Pro says my hand typing metaphor does not relate well to the "real business world," but fails to explain why.

Pro says that applying the same degree of intensity to every single work related task is the hallmark of a true leader. But this is impossible for all but the most rare and exceptional leaders (Disney, Rockefeller). Most people cannot do this, and attempting to do so usually leads to failure. Trying to be good at everything usually leads to being great at nothing.

Finally, as I approach my character limit, Pro says a micromanager should closely control your work because the business should be bigger than the individiaul. That's exactly my point - which is why managers must give control to subordinates rather than keeping it all for themselves.

Back to you Pro.

Debate Round No. 3


Quick Rebuttals

"Pro oversimplifies the premise by saying “effective” simply means “getting results.”

Being effective does mean getting results. Along with "doing the right thing," our definition includes: "the degree to which objectives are achieved and the extent to which targeted problems are solved. "

"Pro says my hand typing metaphor does not relate well to the "real business world," but fails to explain why"

The metaphor does not relate well (in my view) because the method and science of typing on a keyboard is way too simplistic compared to the method and sciences of managing a modern business.

"Pro says that applying the same degree of intensity to every single work related task is the hallmark of a true leader. But this is impossible for all but the most rare and exceptional leaders"

I feel Con contradicts himself here. Prior to making this statement, Con had used the Harvard Business Review to suggest that micromanagers (in general) bring greater intensity & scrutiny to their work than regular mangers.

"Managers must give control to subordinates rather than keeping it all for themselves."

As a general rule, managers should not delegate decision-making powers, negotiating powers, executive powers, marketing strategies, product quality, or even important job-specific tasks to subordinates if the desired outcome is to accurately fulfill an objective. The problem again with delegating is that a manger has to forfeit control (along with notable control over standards) to employee competence. Ensuring high standards however (through micromanagement), often leads to better results.

"Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Henry Ford."

Con argues that the gentlemen above are the "exception" and not "the rule" when it comes to effective micromanagement, arguing that these men were exceptional "geniuses." On the contrary, Jobs, Ford, Disney, Rockefeller, and Carnegie weren't geniuses because they were brilliant, they were geniuses because they micromanaged.

Very quickly again then, Henry Ford was able to perfect the assembly line precisely because he microscopically analyzed the smallest details of car-manufacturing. And Steve Jobs of course, shows what happens when you apply merciless attention to detail and uncompromising standards for perfection upon the core-competencies of a company. (

On Bureaucracies.

When it comes to micromanagement vs. bureaucracies, Con makes a clever argument; In a cumbersome slow-moving bureaucracy (like the government or military) everyone's work is controlled by an immediate supervisor (via hierarchy & multiple tiers) and regulated by mountains of paperwork, rules, procedures, and red tape. Therefore bureaucracy is the byword of micromanagement theory gone bad.

On the contrary however, we can believe bureaucracies are resultant from delegation theory gone bad because top-level administrators and chief executives (aka decision makers) have delegated so much control to so many competing tiers of mangers and departments that their executive leadership is almost totally absent from everyday operations. As Con said himself in Round 3, the leader in a bureaucracy (in his reference to the military) is often left without a defined role and is forced to act like a "generalist." However, unless the CEO, general, president, or key decision-maker in this case, is willing to leave the board room and start waving the pen to make things happen, bureaucracies will always remain slow due the distance it takes to bring an issue and decision to the attention of an administrator.

Removing the hierarchal gap that exists between corporate vision, decisions, feedback, and execution, (via Micromanagement theory) is thus a solution for slow-moving bureaucracies.

Delegating vs. Micromanaging (General Rules & Summaries)

Superior Accuracy

Micromanagement offers superior accuracy to workplace issues by enforcing standards and by ensuring close attention to detail. The secret of course to superior workplace accuracy via micromanagement is by directly observing or controlling the work of subordinates. This is superior to "delegating" standards which are at the mercy of employee interest and motivation for accomplishment.

Superior Problem Solving

Micromanagement theory attempts to solve problems instead of delegating them. The added bonus of bringing in a manager to solve a problem is that he brings managerial power and experience to the work at hand. A manager is thus able to wave regulations, obtain resources, monitor for progress, force workers into compliance, and implement decisions that are otherwise beyond the powers of a subordinate to even make. Having a micromanager on site also means that problems can be prioritized and solved quickly according to leadership expectations, leading to greater organizational efficiency in the long run.

Solution for Workplace Incompetence & Inefficiencies

Micromanagement offers a solution to workplace incompetence and inefficiency. When a micromanager steps in to do the job of incompetent employees, he ensures that the work still produces an accurate result - with or without the employee's compliance.

We can also believe micromanagement produces greater efficiency because a leader can be expected to bring greater intensity along with higher personal standards (that comes with being a leader) to the work at hand. A micromanager intervening on behalf of a subordinate is often much more efficient at getting the task work completed -and in a quality manner- than trying to coach the subordinate

*Getting things done right the first time (via the superior accuracy of micromanagement) is also vastly more efficient than trying to correct for workers' mistakes and having to pay for costs later.


In his rebuttals to my arguments, Con has acknowledged a few cases where micromanagement was effective, but of course, not the "general rule" to leadership theory. What is the general rule however, and isn't likely to be disputed by Con, is that leaders can get things done, solve problems, create impacts, and make lasting differences to their organization and their environment.

As a leader, you possess important skills, experiences, abilities, and convictions that followers don't have. And as a manager you posses important administrative and decision-making powers, powers that can make a huge huge difference in any situation. By putting yourself at the forefront of an organization and stepping in to do work of a micromanager, leaders exercise that much greater control over their environments, which leads to an even greater result.

The general rule is this; true leadership is effective in any form, and one of the most impactful is micromanagement.



== Rebuttal ==

Pro continues to hold that "getting results" is the mark of effectiveness. Of course, getting results is part of the answer, but I maintain we must consider whether a manager is getting results by doing the right thing and achieving objectives to a high degree. A micromanager is not doing the right thing, and cannot therefore be considered effective (as a general rule).

Pro complains that my typing metaphor is too simple, but that's what a metaphor is: a simple representation of a complex issue. In any case, Pro has embraced an incredibly simplistic definition of effective ("getting results"), so it seems that managing a modern business must not be that complex after all....

Pro misses my point about the failures of applying great intensity and scrutiny to every aspect of a job. I used the Harvard Business Review to expose this concept, and went on to explain that it such behavior is impossible to maintain and becomes destructive. This is the reason people often complain about micromanagers: they scrutinize irrelevant details and often neglect focusing on other priorities. No one can truly apply equal intensity to everything because attention is a zero-sum quantity: attention spent on one thing cannot be attention spent on another. This is the very definition of what it means to "pay attention" to something.

To combat my point that managers should give control to subordinates, Pro says that micromanagers necessarily ensure high standards and therefore should not relinquish executive power by delegating. However, he has failed to address my question of what happens when the manager is not a super hero genius with superior passion and subject matter expertise? Pro continues to assume that micromanagers are the most competent and intelligent people in their organizations, but that is simply not the case. Pro suggests it's a bad idea to forfeit control to employee competence, but that's only true if your employees lack competence - to which we must wonder why an "effective" manager would hire incompetent employees in the first place? Rather, effective managers should be building a team of competent people who can innovate and achieve high standards without excessive supervision.

To the point that Disney, Carnegie, and Rockefeller are exceptions rather than the rule, Pro says these men were geniuses because they micromanaged. I could easily counter that these men micromanaged because they were geniuses, and we now have an unsolvable chicken and egg problem. Suffice it to say that Pro has given no proof linking genius to micromanagement, and still cannot point to more than five leaders to back this claim. I maintain this is a far cry from showing micromanagement's merits as a general rule.

To my point that micromanagement=bureaucracy, Pro says bureaucracy happens when chief executives delegate too much control to lower levels. But let us examine once again the tools of bureaucracy: reports, summaries, forms, etc... To whom does Pro think all these reports, summaries, and forms are going to? The (micro)manager! It is because a micromanager demands intimate involvement in the goings-on of each department that those departments must generate bureaucratic products. In contrast, delegation to trusted and competent subordinates allows those departments to innovate, function, and solve problems locally without clearing every decision with higher management. This is why we can believe that micromanagers create bureaucracies.

To conclude his argument, Pro says "as a leader, you possess important skills, experiences, abilities, and convictions that followers don't have." The obvious question here is: how did that leader gain those skills, experiences, and abilities in the first place? The answer is someone allowed them to rise through the ranks, innovate, achieve, and learn from mistakes. In short, that leader was not micromanaged. A follower can never rise to be a wise leader if they are constantly stifled by micromanagers who do their jobs for them. As such, micromanagement is detrimental to the leader development that fosters continuous excellence for generations.

In closing, Pro has dropped a number of my rebuttals, namely: We have no reason to assume micromanagers are always super-competent geniuses. Micromanagers risk becoming distracted in details and confused by excessive feedback, leading to mistakes. Clarifying the contradiction between the claims that micromanagers are subject matter experts and the need to learn the "ins and outs" of a business by doing their subordinates' jobs. Finally, Pro has not explained why an effective manager would choose to do the job of an incompetent employee rather than firing them and hiring someone better.

== Remarks ==

Now that I've put my sword away, I'd like to extend an olive branch of thanks to Pro for another good debate, and a special thanks for restarting after my unintended forfeiture. A true gentleman, I welcome a debate with you any time.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by ColeTrain 8 months ago
I'll try to get a vote up soon. This is an interesting topic, and both of you appear to have done well.
Posted by Jevinigh 9 months ago
I am looking forward to see the end of this one.
Posted by sengejuri 9 months ago
Thanks for doing this. Sorry again for the forfeit.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by kkjnay 8 months ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Con made the important point that Bureaucracies are probably created by micromanagement. Pro makes a case that effectively states that SOME micromanagers are experts of the subject matter and thus provide superior guidance to their employees. Con largely refutes this point while acknowledging there are exceptions to his stance i.e. Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, etc. that the vast majority of micromanagers probably do not have superior reasoning ability compared to their subordinates. I believe that out of this debate Pro has made a case for creative geniuses being effective micromanagers, however that's not exactly what this debate is about. In my view this debate was won by Con as he largely refuted Pro's points and made arguments regarding the inefficiencies of micromanagement, which I do not believe Pro adequately refuted.