“Pyromaniacs” are bosses who compulsively light fires in their organizations. For them every project becomes a crisis, every meeting becomes a fire drill and every e-mail is marked URGENT. Time and resources are wasted and attention is diverted from important long-term threats because of the focus on day-to-day minutiae. This article points out that technology is making pyro behavior easier and hence more prevalent. Pyro impulses that were once dampened by the effort needed to create a memo or pick up a phone are now freed up by the ease of broadcasting e-mails and instant messages.

This article is replete with examples of pyro behavior and its consequences. It discusses the psychological underpinnings of pyromania behavior as well as the types of corporate cultures that foster it. In the end, the cure is impulse control and the author provides a number of steps pyros can take to rein in their behavior.

Think you may be a pyro? The article ends with a short quiz to help readers determine if they have the [fire] bug.

Source: Patricia B. Gray, FSB: Fortune Small Business (New York); July/August , 2007, v17 i6 p70

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