Thirteen Sad but True Deficiencies of Myanmar Managers



The following thirteen de­ficiencies were originally pointed out by a foreigner, who had worked in Myanmar for many years. The writer himself agreed with all of them based on his own personal and past expe­riences. Obviously, the followings are generalizations referring to the normal state of affairs, rather than the totality (the whole pop­ulation) of the private and public sector managers.


1. Doing things together for better effectiveness does not exist in Myanmar managers’ vocabu­lary. They want their own doing. No discussion, no negotiation, no communication with peers, or oth­er departments.


2. Sharing and caring are deficient. There is always a lot of jealousy, both hidden and ex­plicit. Even if he cannot do half of the other person’s work done, let’s criticize first, just in order to diminish the other’s impressive accomplishments.


3. Attack other people’s weakness(es), just to preserve one’s position or get own’s po­sition. Instead of improving themselves, most of them tend to specialize in disparaging oth­ers, trying to attack, and looking to show off their own’s good-for-nothing achievements.


4. Ego and knowledge mis­match. Never accept he still needs to improve or is lacking knowl­edge. That acknowledgement would be akin to downgrading oneself or the position that you are undeservedly holding.


5. Extremely poor team­work. Just want to boast I am Chairman of this, General Sec­retary of that, etc., and want to be the centre of attention and in­dividual hero, regardless of how untalented he might be.


6. Little responsibility or accountability or delegation. Any screwup is not his fault, but oth­ers.


7. Indecisive and delayed responses and do not consider the urgency of things to take im­mediate action. Never accept that it was his mistake or never take responsibility and always look for scapegoats, trying to avoid addressing the situation head-on.


8. No customer orientation. Do not accept a sense of duty or service towards the customer or the country and try to be over­bearing and tyrannical.


9. No foresight. Cannot differentiate between long and short-term plans. Not trying hard to have that ability either.


10. Biases and favouritism. Prevalence of subjective judge­ments and gossip, while trying to create their own little turfs and promoting incompetent and cor­rupt subordinates.


11. No personal sacrifice for the department, organization or country to be successful. Just want to sit back, relax, enjoy the position, spend the budget, and get the benefits, without putting in much effort.


12. Instead of being a leader, just want to be an authorized, ap­pointed person. Instead of devel­oping standards for better perfor­mance and criteria for selection and decision-making, just focus on how to order and command people based on assumed or real authority.


13. Prioritizing internal pol­itics and gossip, over-focusing on results.


Sad but true, yet a detriment to our country. As Jim Collins said, “The purpose of bureaucracy is to compensate for incompetence and lack of discipline - a prob­lem that largely goes away if you have the right people in the first place”. The solution or part of the solution would be to ensure that competent, brave and qualified people are placed in leadership positions in the first place, by our entrusted leaders.