Patton on Micromanagement

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“Keep on advancing… whether we go over, under, or through the enemy,” General Patton told his troops, and they did.

Under his leadership, the 3rd Army swept across France, crossed the Rhine and charged straight into the heart of Germany.  In 1945, his troops captured more than 10,000 square miles of enemy territory in one 10-day march. In the end, Patton and his Army achieved their mission of liberating Germany from the Nazi’s.

“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” George S. Patton

Like other great leaders, Patton understood he didn’t need to micromanage his troops to get them to do extraordinary things. A leader’s role is to cast the vision, set the goals, establish the boundaries, and get out of the way.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Too often, leaders think they need to know everything, direct every activity, and be involved in every decision. When you do that, it comes across that you don’t trust your team. You don’t think they are capable.  In the end, you are limiting the success of your team. They will only be as good as you are. You will never be surprised with their results.

What do you think? Have you worked for a micro-manager? What was that experience like? Was the team’s success limited? Do you have experience working with a visionary leader? What was that like? Did it frustrate you when they didn’t get involved in the details? Let me know in the comment section below.

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