In my personal life, I've had a number of opportunities to watch micromanagement tactics implode. Inevitably, in times of crisis, the Micromanager becomes overwhelmed, and either lashes out or turtles. Neither response is terribly productive, and neither response will ever solve the problems being faced by whatever the micromanager is responsible.
Such is clearly the case with our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. It quickly became apparent that Harper is a Micromanager after he was sworn into office this winter.
This past week, we have had quite the dollop of examples showing just how destructive and ineffective this approach is.
First, Micromanagers try to control information flow - both up and down the ladder. Sure enough, at the APEC conference, Canadian media is being kept away from him, as far as possible. Apparently because he doesn't want to answer awkward questions.
Second, micromanagers often undermine their own people. We have a beautiful example of this kind of behaviour when his aides go running around asking senior bureaucrats to report on how "effective" their bosses (cabinet ministers) are at communications. (The question isn't invalid, however trying to do it in secret is another classic sign of incompetent management that is so insecure about their context that they feel it necessary to be highly secretive in their actions.
(Perhaps somewhat justified in a way, especially given the utterly embarrassing performance of Rona Ambrose this past week)
However, Stephen Harper is demonstrating several aspects of micromanagement that indicate that he is actually a very weak political leader. By attempting to control the flow of information to Canadians while he is abroad, he further raises questions about his actual conduct and intentions. By "going turtle" as soon as he receives an "unexpected" question, Harper further demonstrates an inability to respond to the fluid realities of the world around him.
The currents of public events are water to his stony demeanor. Remember, sooner or later the water will erode the rock.