Monday, October 10, 2005

Stupid Manager Tricks, Part II

I was surprised (heartened, yet depressed) at the feedback to the previous entry, on how to be a horrible manager. A few more ways to do damage from the top:

- Never hire anybody remotely as smart as you. They could be threats.

- Information is power, so hoard it jealously.

- Try to end every meeting with “okay, so I’ll wait for you to get back to me with...”

- Avoid conflict at all costs.

- Credit is zero-sum. Grab as much as you can!

- Customize everything you say to whomever is in front of you.

- Tell exhausted underlings to “work smarter, not harder.” That way, you show both ignorance and arrogance, the lousy manager two-fer!

- Punish ambition.

- Get prima donnas out of your office by appeasing them with goodies.

- Remember, it’s all about you!

- When assigning projects, don’t ever share your vision of the final outcome. Wait until a subordinate has made a presentation before letting an uncomfortable silence go by, sighing heavily, and whipping out the red pen.

- Schedule long meetings that overlap lunch. (Variations: start two-hour meetings a half-hour before quitting time; start long conversations just as people are packing up to go home; announce on Friday that everyone has to come in on Saturday.)

Reader contributions:

- Send long, info-packed emails, esp. with the not-at-all-cumbersome Word templates.

- Only come around when you want something. (Variation: dump bad news on people when they spontaneously drop by your office. Works better than Off as a repellent.)

- Give courtesy interviews for jobs that have already been eliminated.

- Lack self-awareness. Examples: invite questions, then punish them. Promise support, don’t offer it, then blame the non-supported for failing. Say things you don’t mean, then blame subordinates for not clairvoyantly sussing out your true meaning.

- Divide and conquer. Make subordinates bash each other, like Trump in the boardroom.

- Emails? What emails? I never got your emails...

Sadly, Dilbert inhabits the walls of academe.