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Saturday, July 13 2024 @ 08:36 MDT

How long till Stephen Harper is doing your job?

Canadian Politics

It's been a while since I've written anything about politics as I have been on vacation. Now that the vacation is over and I'm getting back into the routine of my working life, my mind is again pondering the wonder that is Canadian politics.

What I'm looking at is the impending implosion of the Conservative party at it's top. From what I have gathered in the press, Stephen Harper is a micro-manager of immense proportions. For example, a Canadian citizen is currently charged with terrorism, and all the announcements about this are coming from the PMO, or at least the Prime Minister's Parliamentary Secretary who is basically a mouthpiece for the PMO. This is unusual as this is normally a Department of Foreign Affairs matter, as it deals with another country and as such the Minister of Foreign Affairs should be the one speaking on this.

This, among other actions, would indicate that Harper has his fingers in a lot of pies. So much so he may have problems with being Prime Minister. The ability to delegate is one of the signs of a good leader, as a good leader knows that it is his/her job to direct the flow of work, not do the work him/herself. Any leader who can't delegate will sooner or later burn themselves out, not to mention lower the efficiency of the people they lead. Why they will burn out is obvious, by trying to do everything themselves, the leader does a couple of thing. First they spend all their time doing everybody's job, which can be a time consuming and tiring on it's own. It leaves little time for the job of leadership which is also a large full time job in itself. Since the micro-manager is trying to do everyone's job, not only are they getting tired from doing that, but they will also put additional stress on themselves as they try desperately to get all the jobs done in whatever time frame that they need to be done in. Micro-managers will eventually burn themselves out because of this.

Couple this with the problems the micro-manager inflicts on his/her workers. The people working for a micro-manager become less efficient at their jobs for a couple reasons. First and foremostly the micro-manager prevents the worker from actually doing the job. Every time the worker tries to get things done, the micro-managers swoops in and starts to meddle and soon the worker isn't doing the work anymore. Second is the destruction of morale, as the workers begin to feel that either they aren't capable of doing the work, or feel that the micro-manager is out to get them and that if the manager wants to do the work, so be it. Sometimes it just makes the job hard to do. Workers will come back from a break or returning to work the next day to find their work area changed around because it suited the micro-manager, causing a reduction in productivity as the worker then has to re-arrange him/her self or the work area to begin working again. None of these things help productivity.

The practical upshot of this is that small businesses run by micro-managers never stop being small businesses since the micro-manager isn't capable of delegating tasks to his/her employees and there is only so much work one person can do. Large companies/governments that have micro-managers brought into the system slow down their productivity as again, there is only so much work one person can do. Micro-managers are extremely detrimental to whatever system they're placed in.

With this information about the micro-manager, we can now speculate as to why Stephen Harper has seemingly become one, despite all evidence that becoming one is a "bad thing". The first reason could be simple inexperience. Harper and Co. have no experience in government, the Liberals having been in power for so long, so Harper is trying to "help" is inexperienced ministers by taking the workload from them. This will fail in the long run, since the ministers will only really learn by doing, all the real work is done by the civil service anyways and Harper was in charge of the National Citizens' Coalition so he should know better anyways.

The second and I think more likely reason is that Harper doesn't trust his ministers to stay on course or message. Stephen Harper's main weakness is that he is too rigid in policy and personality to be successful at politics for long (this being the opposite of Paul Martin who wasn't rigid enough in either). I suspect that Harper lays awake at night living in fear that one of his ministers (or worse, one of his backbenchers) might find a live microphone somewhere and say something that could be construed as a course the good ship Harper doesn't want to take. This shows Harper's failings as a leader as he is unwilling to trust the people he's put in place to do their jobs the way he wants them too. Either this is because he doesn't feel they're as committed to his ideals as he is or even worse, the rift between the social and fiscal conservatives in his cabinet is larger than the party is willing to let on. Either way, it's no way to run a railroad or a country.

If Stephen Harper wants another term as Prime Minister he has to have a couple of things happen. First the Liberals have to elect a lackluster leader, as any strong leader in the Liberal Party will see the Tory's poll numbers deflate like a popped balloon. If the Grits do elect a strong leader, then Harper has to start being more flexible and looking less like a George W. Bush wannabe. Failure to do that, combined with the incessant micro-managing, will see Harper needing to hope for a week Liberal leader to run against in the next election just to hold on to his minority or else he'll have a return engagement at Stornoway.

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How long till Stephen Harper is doing your job?
Authored by: evilscientist onSaturday, August 12 2006 @ 09:32 MDT
It just hit me in the shower, Harper's trying to be the president of Canada. It would appear that he has a fundamental misunderstanding of our political system.