Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why so Many Bosses are Idiots

When I got out of college and into the workforce I found, much to my
surprise, I was working for semi-incompetent, semi-clueless bosses.

Based on my participation in the jobs I’ve held, I’ve come to some
conclusions as to what makes an effective leader.

1. Every boss should listen to the rebels and the “trouble-makers.” They’re
the ones who tell the truth. Every organization needs someone to tell
the emperor he has no clothes.

2. To find out what’s really going on and what needs to be changed,
ask the people at the “bottom.” They’re the ones who do most of the
work and actually know what the problems are. Not once have I seen this done in
any job I’ve had.

3. Share the planning. If you don’t no one will trust you.

4. Know when to ignore your yes-men. In fact, why do you even need
them? Usually they’re called advisors, and just because they’re advisors
doesn’t mean they know more than the workers.

5. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Just because you may have an
MBA doesn’t mean you’re right all the time. Or even most of the time. Or
even half the time. Your workers know more about what’s going on than
you do.

6. Workers have lives outside work. I once worked for a guy who
thought his workers were supposed to work 55 hours a week. He didn’t
last very long as a manager.

7. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I worked for one place that
kept transferring people trying to make as much profit as possible.
They went out of business.

My experience has been that when people don’t follow these rules,
they have a high turnover of employees, workers not only walk off
but sabotage the place before leaving, and they file lawsuits every
chance they can.


Kent McManigal said...

I worked for a place for a few years that had a manager that was a perfect example of this.

It got to the point I never even tried to remember the new employees' names unless they showed up for a week. The majority wouldn't come back the second day. The manager loudly complained that everyone in town was lazy and didn't want to work. I suggested he might need to look inward to see the problem.

He was on a kick of having everyone learn to do every job (in case someone got angry and quit). So everyone kept being moved around. It was chaos, it slowed down production, and quality suffered. There was a good fit for every job with some employees and if he had just let people do what they liked and were good at (usually the same thing) speed and quality would have soared. And fewer would have walked off the job in utter frustration.

The company had a very tight schedule, but because the manager insisted that we keep taking orders from the "special customers" long after the deadline, certain employees (usually me and a couple others) ended up staying very late. Then the products that were rushed near the end were of lower quality. And the manager was angry about that.

The owner of the company was actually a nice guy. He came into the back room where I usually worked (when I wasn't being shuffled off somewhere else) and remarked about how isolated and quiet it was. He brought a radio a few days later. The manager HATED for anyone to have a radio- or to talk about anything other than work. He would wander around, looking over every employee's shoulder- especially when the "system" was in chaos. He would stomp around and look very angry when the radio was on. It soon disappeared. (But he was "Christian", so the couple of employees who listened to Christian radio on their headphones- something else "against policy"- were never interfered with.)

I got called into the office on more than one occasion due to being a trouble maker. I told him what the problems were. His (as well as his yes-man underlings') response was always the same. "You just don't see the Big Picture."

It has been several years since I worked there and the people I am in contact with who still work there have told me the problems the company is still having, and they are still being dealt with the same wrong way. And the company has lost some of its "special customers" along the way.

Unknown said...

I had a boss that used to sneak up behind people. It took seven year for the morons in management to transfer him out of state.