SugarHouse CEO: The misery of micromanaging

SugarHouse Casino's CEO Greg Carlin and his general manager Wendy Hamilton.

Many of us could tell our bosses the truth that Greg Carlin, the CEO of SugarHouse Casino and Rush Gaming L.L.C., discovered on his own: Micromanaging was making him (and probably his employees) miserable.

"I went through a point where I was so bogged down in the weeds,  and I was unhappy basically," he said.

This came up in the course of our Leadership Agenda interview, published in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer. I had asked him for advice for newly-minted leaders.

"One of the lessons I’ve learned is to hire great people and let them run the business," he said. "You can’t micromanage them. It is a hard lesson to learn. I really try to get involved in things I can add long-term value to. I’m not gong to add value on the day-to-day running of the business."

Case in point, he said, is Wendy Hamilton, the SugarHouse general manager. He credits her with hiring a great staff and doing a lot with limited space at the SugarHouse casino. She was also the voice of the casino at the Mummer's Parade, sponsored in part by SugarHouse. (Why Carlin delegated a good seat for the parade, I'll never know, but Hamilton gamely stuck it out for hours on New Year's Day. It looked like she was enjoying herself.)

Did some employee have to let Carlin know, hopefully in some graceful way, that he was, let us say, hovering?

"I like to think I’m self-aware enough that I was able to figure it out," Carlin said. "I think a lot of CEOs aren’t that self-aware."

Tuesday: Of bathrooms and parking garages.