February 10; Managers Do Not Work Hard (As We Normally Think of Work)
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


10 February

I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;

I possess knowledge and discretion.

Proverbs 8:12

Managers Do Not Work Hard (As We Normally Think of Work)


Take this simple test to learn if you are leadership material. What combination makes the best CEO?

a. Lazy and Dull

b. Hard working and Intelligent

c. Hard working and Dull, or

d. Intelligent and Lazy

Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord; courtesy Quote Investigator

Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord;
courtesy Quote Investigator

If you are like most of my bright graduate business students you picked, B) Hard working and Intelligent.

You would be in good company. And you would be wrong.

The correct answer is D) Intelligent and Lazy.


The earliest citation may belong to General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord  (1878 – 1943) who served as Commander-in-Chief of the German Army before WWII and an opponent of Hitler.

The General explains,

I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined.

Some are clever and diligent — their place is the General Staff.

The next lot are stupid and lazy — they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties.

Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions.

One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief

The matrix is sometimes credited to Erich von Manstein (1887-1973), a Field Marshal in the German Army in World Wars One and Two. The Prussian is acclaimed to be the best military strategist Germany ever produced.

There are only four types of officers.

First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. Leave them alone, they do no harm…

Second, there are the hard- working, intelligent ones. They make excellent staff officers, ensuring that every detail is properly considered.

Third, there are the hard- working, stupid ones. These people are a menace and must be fired at once. They create irrelevant work for everybody.

Finally, there are the intelligent, lazy ones. They are suited for the highest office.

The Teutonic military command is looking for intelligent and ‘lazy’ leaders. But lazy should not be interpreted as slothful.

I would suggest that the German generals were looking for prudence.

The prudent leader is a wise, seasoned manager who knows that he should not perform a task when a subordinate can do it instead. This frees up the leader’s most valuable possession: Time to think.

Although von Manstein was educated in Catholic schools it is not known how close he studied Scripture. But it seems that the General may have practiced Christ’s management admonition in Proverbs 8:12, I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.

Here Christ is describing himself in the First Person as Wisdom. Using Christ the King as the leadership template the manager is a continuous learner in the craft of management. He is also skilled in the art and the practice of management using relationships and discretion in getting things done through others. What The Creator has and is — perfectly and completely — we can only begin to learn.




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