Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bullies and Bastards

I can use any management style for success--even being a bully or a bastard. Or at least that's what I'd believe based on my experience. Here's how...

I can terrorize my employees, belittle, deride, patronize and micro-manage them. By doing this, I will occasionally get the behavior and the results I wanted. It will be enough to encourage me to manage the same way. If I'm not successful, I will attribute the lack of "cooperation" to the employee's stubbornness. I will increase my management effort.

I can think that they're incapable and untrustworthy. And they will prove me right. I will plant the idea that they will fail, that they're incapable and lousy at making sound decisions. My exclamation of my belief will create in my employee's head a prophecy that he will self-fulfill. Like thinking about a panda after being told not to think of a panda, my employee will make a poor decision enough times to fulfill the "don't make a bad decision" prediction. (First, you have to define a bad decision in your head and then you sort of gravitate towards it, like looking towards the trees while driving and subsequently find yourself on the road's shoulder.) My employee will occasionally, maybe even 99% of the time, make a good decision. However, the next time she screws up, I'll be convinced that she always screws up. I'm not looking for the good. I'm looking for the evidence to reaffirm my beliefs.

You can't change me. You can stand up to me, like you would any bully, in public or private. If my management style won't work on you, I'll work around you. My style will work on enough people in the organization that I will persist.

You might think you graduated from elementary school playground politics, but you haven't. You work in my company.

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