I was watching a TV show on SEAL/BUDS training this weekend, and caught a fantastic little lesson in management and leadership from one of the demolition instructors who berrated his students when their ordinance detonated several minutes ahead of schedule.

What the trainees did wrong was simple: They didn’t do what they were asked to do, which was to run a test fuse, just to make absolutely sure the delay would be adequate. They tried to save time, and assumed their calculations were right. They were wrong.

The instructor sent them to “camp stupid,”which basically meant they would be spending a week’s worth of very cold nights sleeping on the beach. Not a big deal, but the point was well made.

What he explained to them was what struck me. He said:

“This is how we create micromanagers. By doing stuff like this. How are you going to get officers to trust you to do your jobs on your own if you can’t even follow simple instructions? If there’s something I hate, it’s micromanagers, but this is how we create them.”

I had never heard it put that way, but it made perfect sense.