Guiding Quote

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Einstein

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Types of Bosses: The Cheerleader

There is a particular type of manager who only sees the positive side of company policy.  Like Dr. Pangloss they assume that what is happening is the best that can be done in the best of company's. They appear to be able to believe ten impossible things before breakfast.

Now for an old hand like myself they are either unbelievably naive or apparatchiks of the most mindless sort. Experience indicates that the latter is true. Nobody can be that naive!

If you have a problem recognizing this managerial species then you will fail as a politician.  The female version sounds like a kindergarten teacher always warning against running with scissors, while the male version has more enthusiasm for an obscure change in purchasing rules than any rational person should have.

Now although they may be the butt of jokes from the more worldly members of their teams they should not be underestimated. Their sugarcoated personas can hide a very ruthless streak. When challenged they react badly. Anyone who challenges their delusions is deemed as not being a team player. The upmost crime in their world. And once you are condemned of that deviancy you are in trouble.

So how do you handle this type? Well you just pay lip service to their enthusiasm. Politicians are accused of having too many faces and they practice this because they need to work with many people to build alliances. You can't disagree with everyone all the time and still get things done. So if the manager has this personality then just humor her.

However if you work for a company were the management culture is more akin to a cult, with daily cheerleading sessions, typically they are American, Europeans being too cynical and buttoned down for silly games, then you have a decision to make. You can either sign up or you can move on. A lot of companies with this ethos have terrible working conditions and see regular and extensive overtime as being a sign of loyalty. Commitment to the team is everything!

Also don't mistake enthusiasm for commitment to doing things. One of my first experiences of this behavior was on a trip to the US where I attended a weekly production meeting and at the end they had a "lets do it" ritual. Which was strange to me coming from the UK where meetings typically end on a low note, chairs pushed back, participants shuffling out as if burdened by the extra workload.  The problem was that they didn't, do it that is. The next week the only person who's finished his assigned tasks was me. The cynical Brit. The others had excuses, but still did the "lets do it" ritual at the end of that and every subsequent meeting. I reached the conclusion that "let's do it" was the same as "mañana" but without its overwhelming sense of urgency. 

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