Knowledge is power

Knowledge is power. When you share knowledge with someone, you’re sharing power. If instead, you choose to hoard knowledge, that’s a way to accumulate power for yourself. Indeed the earliest reference to this phrase that I found was from the Arabic,

Knowledge is power and it can command obedience. A man of knowledge during his lifetime can make people obey and follow him and he is praised and venerated after his death. Remember that knowledge is a ruler and wealth is its subject.

— Imam Ali, Nahj Al-Balagha, Saying 146

Micromanagers like to hoard knowledge. How often have you been given a list of things to do with no idea of why any of them need to be done? A micromanager will often give very detailed methods and you will be expected never to deviate from those methods, even if you spot an obvious improvement. It’s tough to know how to improve under a micromanager, because if you don’t know the aim, you won’t know what change in outcome would constitute an improvement.

This is one of the primary ways that a management hierarchy can become dysfunctional. At some point the aim becomes to maintain power and authority (by maintaining position and title). This type of selfishness contributes to the destruction of the system. Hierarchies that operate this way promote a culture of fear, which is the antithesis of what is needed for learning.

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