Jewish World Review June 23, 2004 / 4 Tamuz, 5764

Jim Shea

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Consumer Reports

Advice from the managed | I don't like the word manager. I guess it's because I don't like the idea of being managed, unless, of course, I'm tiring in the late innings.

I mention this because I have been reading a book aimed at helping managers become executives.

These kinds of books always crack me up because the people who write them have no clue what's really going on in the cubicle nation.

Probably the major thing they fail to understand is that we, the managees, are fully aware of how they, the manager du jours, are trying to manipulate us.

We've seen it all before, lots of times. Managers are short-timers. The bad ones get canned. The really bad ones get promoted. (I'm not sure what happens to the good ones. Nobody is.)

Anyway, in the interest of helping aspiring mangers get to that big corner office in the sky, here is an appraisal of some of your favorite techniques:


(Yeah, we love it when you ask about the kids we don't have.)

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One-on-one meetings.

(Fine, as long as you don't keep glancing at your watch the whole time, and while you are at it, don't read your e-mail, make phone calls, eat, doze off or do any personal-hygiene stuff.)

Department-wide meetings.

(Contrary to belief, we kind of like these. They allow us to catch up on our sleep and do personal-hygiene stuff.)

Probing, constantly trying to assess morale.

(What you need to understand is that we are not all that subtle. For example, if after work you find all four of your car tires flat, things are not going well.)

Telling us about yourself.

(Save your breath. We've already read your file.)

Attempting to be self-effacing, laughing at yourself.

(Might as well join the club.)

Taking us out to lunch.

(Good move, as long as it's not to some cheesy joint. We want to go to lunch where your boss takes you to lunch, or we want the cash.)

Public criticism and power trips.

(Granted, this does motivate us - but go out to the parking lot and check your tire pressure.)

Lavishing praise.

(Unless it comes with a raise, forget it. We know the only reason you say nice things is to get us to do more work.)

Jumping in to help out when things get busy.

(Don't, it just makes more work for us.)

Finally, a word or two about enthusiasm.

(There is nothing that annoys us more than a peppy, sunny, upbeat manager. A key thing to remember is this: You see work as a steppingstone. We see work as a millstone. So give it a rest.)

Jim Shea is a columnist for the Hartford Courant. Comment by clicking here.

06/02/04 Tired of playing the numbers
05/19/04 Words on words: Just call me a bloviating boomer


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