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An Appeal to Bad Management

It was a dark, cold and rainy evening three Fridays ago when my relatively new wife told me I was a bad hire while we were headed home on a six o'clock train out of Grand Central. I was caught off guard, horrified and terribly offended. I'm a sensitive guy - so I'm offended quite easily, but my first two reactions were completely justified.

"How do you figure?" I asked.

"Bad managers make bad hires," she said calmly.


She explained how people enter into management with little to no training, how their own shortcomings become the aspects of their management style, how through poor communication/micromanagement/leadership they foster an environment of low morale and clones in their workforce. Thus the employee who never leaves work because their boss never leaves work comes to believe that the only way to get work done is to never leave. If and when it becomes their turn to manage their expectation will be that their employee(s) never leave work because they never left work. She went on to explain that after a series of mediocre management across three different jobs I, in turn, am quickly becoming a mediocre employee --- one who's morale is easily crushed, who has little to no loyalty to a position or organization and who is completely dubious of the effectiveness and even the intelligence of those directing me.

So I appeal to you, senior manager or supervisor or boss, take a class when you notice your entire staff turning over "for better opportunities" every year or two, or when a very enthusiastic employ is gone as soon as 6 months have passed since he/she was hired. When you find yourself perplexed that you don't know your employees because you haven't spent any time getting to know them, use this dilemma as an opportunity to grow yourself, don't dismiss the employee as passive or unenthusiastic. It isn't his/her job to manage your management of him/her, nor should it ever be. I talk to the people I manage everyday for fear that they'll become restless if left unattended (I do the same with my wife).

I fear that after now having spent years at the hands of those unskilled in the art of cultivating others I have, as my wife plainly stated, become unmanageable. A few weeks ago I went on a rant about how much I hate work. I now know that I don't hate work at all. What I detest is being disconnected from that which I'm working for and who I'm working for. Give me a goal, I'll achieve it. Set a standard, I'll do my best to rise to it. Do nothing and watch me flounder and leave.

Maybe this is a turning point for me. Maybe now it is time for me to strike out on my own.

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