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Management beyond thought......

By ntekkie ·
I have been gravely informed that the days of managers actually planning and giving guidance to their employees are over. It seems the new way to manage is to hint at what you need done and hope someone is intuitive enough to take the appropriate action to complete the task.

Unfortunately, my crystal ball has been broken for some time now. I need literal translation. Does this truly mean I'm past it for the workforce? Guidance, advice, please......

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Welcome to corporate America!

by jmgarvin In reply to Management beyond thought ...
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No Kidding

by JRod86 In reply to Welcome to corporate Amer ...

My last manager was HUGE on this style. I was more confused about what I was responsible for than he probably was. He was always looking for someone to take the initiative. But, when someone did, he was never around to notice.

What a bunch of crap.

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Consider the source

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Management beyond thought ...

This is an excellent advice. Hide your requirements in vague terms. If things go wrong, it's easy to blame your employees for not following instructions. And if you don't have to develop clear instructions, you can make your tee time.

That's crud. This method doesn't manage anything except your own career. It doesn't attempt to match the employee to the task, doesn't present clear, measurable goals for success, doesn't attempt to improve the employee's skills. It's management by sink or swim.

Literal translation: your grave informer is full of $h!t.

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by amcol In reply to Management beyond thought ...

If you'd said this grave information came from a respected industry source, or was the subject of a new best selling book chronicling the latest management craze, I'd get just a wee bit exercised about what is patently nonsense. You're either quoting a single person who hasn't got a clue (or perhaps you yourself do not), or you're just posting a controversial comment simply to generate discussion.

Either way, the statement is utter nonsense and in fact has nothing to do with management. You're talking about an issue of communication, something we all need to do well. As soon as the human race develops ESP we can chat more about whether or not this method of communication actually works.

I'll tell you what the real problem is in the area of communication. Do you live in an urban area? Ever notice how many people stare ahead glassy eyed on the subway or the bus while plugged into their iPods? Ever notice how technology has affected the way we communicate, that kids today don't actually talk to each other but spend hours IM'ing and SMS'ing and e-mailing? If people don't practice face to face communication, actually TALKING WITH EACH OTHER, how do you expect they'll develop good communication skills?

We're allowing technology to erect Cones Of Silence around ourselves, and to keep ourselves at arm's length from each other. Human interaction is a thing of the past. We're becoming a society of passive/aggressive loners who have stronger fingers than tongues. Maybe we are on our way to developing's the only other thing that'll work.

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We are developing ESP...

by cp7212 In reply to Horsefeathers

Extra Stupid People When I say stupid, I don't just mean it in an intelligence sense. You're right, people are all plugged in nowadays. But there's also another thing....have you ever walked down a sidewalk and said 'hi' to a complete stranger? They look at you like you have seven heads.

I don't think some people can even comprehend that someone may come up to them without the intent of mugging them any more.

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Y'all Come South

by CharlieSpencer In reply to We are developing ESP...

Your profile doesn't say where you're located. Come to the southeastern U.S. We say "Hi!" (or "Hello" or "Howdy") to strangers on the sidewalk all the time. We also do the two-fingered wave over the steering wheel when we cross paths on the back roads. Like Charlie Daniels said, "We say 'Sir' and we say 'Ma'am'".

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Horsefeathers, I agree....

by ntekkie In reply to Horsefeathers

It was a single person whom just happened to be the manager of the department of IT in a consulting firm I was employed several years ago.
This person upon my exit interview, after not bothering to give me a review of any kind at any point during my six months of employment, told me the reason I was being let go was due to my inability to accept criticism of my work.

You can imagine the shock of hearing this from a person I had only seen in passing while entering or exiting the building.

Since that conversation, I have witness managers who do communicate well with their employees get replaced by managers who have this new style of "I'll tell you what to do eventhough I don't have a clue of how to do it or where to begin and when you have finished doing everything I have told you to do, I will fire you for incompetence. Oh, I will also fire you if you don't do what I say because you are not a team player."

So, yes again your assessment that I don't have a clue is correct. How do I break this role of "damned if you do and damned if you don't" routine? I know there has to be a common ground. I just need some pointers on how to get to this area.

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You're not clueless, just inexperienced

by amcol In reply to Horsefeathers, I agree... ...

And you're mixing up issues.

The days when a manager was the most knowledgeable, competent, experienced person in the department are long gone. My father worked his way up from a low level clerk to department head, and he was expected to know everything there was to know about everything everyone in his department did and how to do it himself. That way, it was thought he could effectively manage the group and he could step in as a pinch hitter in the event anyone was absent.

Today, management is a science and a profession all by itself, and it is this concept that most people don't get (or don't want to). It is possible to be a professional manager, one who can assume a leadership role in any group no matter what they're actually doing and create a successful outcome. We now train managers to have a deep understanding of interpersonal dynamics, communication, strategy, organizational practices, situational leadership, and a host of other generic skills that are applicable across a wide swath.

You've apparently had the unfortunate experience of being exposed only to bad managers. These are people who think they need only issue orders and then sit back and relax, folks who spend most of their time playing politics rather than achieving results. It's depressing how many people I've personally observed who, once they've achieved a management position, think they've paid their dues and now can just retire on the job while their minions scurry about.

I know what you need to do, I just don't know what advice I can offer in terms of doing it. What you need is to find a good manager, someone who understands what management is all about and can act as a role model for you. This would be someone with superior communication skills, the ability to articulate and achieve a vision, provide constant feedback (not just at an annual performance review, but daily), watch your back and support your efforts, and provide you with whatever resources you need to get your job done. It's someone who understands what being a team player is all about, a person who is interested only in what lies ahead and how to achieve it rather than what's already happened so he/she can find and punish the perpetrators.

No one should have to live with a sword of Damocles hanging over their head. If you really believe that your manager will fire you no matter what you do, then you're on a suicide mission and you need to get out ASAP. Or, you need to examine what's going on and why, and as open-mindedly as possible. Is it my manager, or is it me? Or both? And what do I do about it?

You have a rather cynical view of managers, which even if it's coming from bitter experience doesn't need to be a self-perpetuating prophecy. Do you work for a large organization? Find out which managers are highly regarded and do whatever is necessary to get on their team. Do you work for a small company? Figure out if your situation is redeemable or not...if so, do something about it, and if not get out.

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Really Opinionated Personal View to Follow

by CharlieSpencer In reply to You're not clueless, just ...

After WWII, a lot of former GIs returned to the work force. They brought with them leadership experience, and management and teamwork skills the military teach people as they advance through the ranks. These skills were refreshed in the work force as more former soldiers returned from Korea and Vietnam. Even in peacetime young soldiers are place in charge of simple missions ("projects" to you civilians) and develop leadership abilities they eventually bring to civilian employment.

Now the number of veterans in civilian jobs is at its lowest point in decades. Leadership (or management, if you will) is now taught in academic environments instead of the real world.

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Situational perspective

by amcol In reply to Really Opinionated Person ...

The type of leadership and organizational skills taught in and employed by the military have great value, but it must be put into perspective.

Military leadership and management is command and control. In a highly structured organization such an approach is absolutely required...there's no time in the heat of battle when lives are at stake to question authority, nor can authority worry about whether or not orders are followed. I tell you what to do, you do it.

In the years subsequent to WWII management and organizational theory were nascent disciplines. You had a couple of people who were doing groundbreaking work, folks like J. Edwards Deming and Peter Drucker, but they were merely laying a foundation. No one had any formal training in how to manage or how to lead, so the only qualifications were natural ability and/or experience gained in the military.

Throughout the fifties and sixties the command and control approach worked pretty well, coupled as it was with formal top down hierarchial structure. There was a boss, who had underlings. Each one of them had underlings of their own, and so on. Everyone knew what they were supposed to do and who they were supposed to report to, and if you needed an action taken by a department other than your own you were required to go through the department head.

Over the last thirty to forty years things have changed dramatically. We have a much more highly educated workforce, a far more robust management and leadership discipline with formal training programs, and a social structure that empasizes informality and individuality. Military style top down hierarchy has been replaced by horizontal organizational structure, and command and control has been replaced by influence management.

That's not to say the military isn't still a good place to learn management and leadership. When entering civilian life, veterans have a much harder adjustment than their fathers did since society and workforce dynamics are so very different.

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