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Managers

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There are several sorts of (civvi) manager:

  • Promoted Too High:
This manager was once an extremely competent employee who was promoted out of what he was good at to a level where he struggles. He longs for the days he could just DO what he was good at. Cannot return to the old days since his technical skills will be outdated and the salary would be too little for his current life style. Often popular with his subordinates.
  • Career Manager:
Either graduated to the ranks of management though sucking up, backstabbing and general weasilyness; or, even worse, he/she is a graduate of a management training college and is thus totally devoid of any actual skills. Has absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever. Frequently resorts to bullying his/her subordinates to cover up their inadequacies and in general has all the use of a chocolate teapot. Survives by bullshitting constantly. Main activities are reorganisations, micro-managing and absenteeism. Usually entirely ignorant of any aspects of their employer's industry. (can you guess what sort on manager my manager is?)
  • Relative of the Owner (usually son):
Sometimes the boss of a company will 'parachute' a child into a job. This isn't so bad if he/she starts at the bottom as a learning experience and then rises to management. However sometimes Junior is given staff right from the get go and that can be traumatic or exploitable. Sucking up to Junior can result in wonderful perks (extra time off, pay rises, expensive lunches) at the expense of your colleagues. It can also result in a nightmare should junior have you on his shit list.

Falling primarily within the latter of the above main broad categories, there are many management styles and techniques which are particularly obnoxious.

  • Divide and Conquer:
this management technique involves setting all of your underlings off against each other, by spreading rumour, innuendo, and by being secretive. Your underlings will be so busy infighting that they won't be looking at your bad management.
  • Getting your underlings to do your work for you:
in management speak, this is euphemistically called "delegation". To a nonmanager, delegation involves apportioning tasks to subordinates so as to better reach your goals, such as in command tasks, since one person cannot conceivably do everything. To a manager, delegation involves telling your underlings to do your job for you on top of their usual tasks. Beware of any manager who says "delegation is a sign of good management".
  • Application of inappropriate measures of productivity:
Managers seem to be able to invent the most fantastic and often complicated schemes for measuring productivity, and to abuse the results in such a way as to make them look good and their underlings look bad.
  • Setting mutually exclusive goals:
As a manager, not only does your left hand not know what your right hand is doing, but the left part of your brain does not know what the right part is doing. You will therefore consider it appropriate to set your underlings two or more mutually exclusive goals, to ensure that either they don't achieve one of them, or they are so fixated on attempting to achieve both that they burn themselves out and achieve neither.
  • Setting impossible goals:
Imagine that the incoming workflow is 20 pieces of work a day, and is outside your control. Set, therefore, a target of 21 or 22 pieces of work a day. The reason for this is absolutely self-explanatory. Then complain in the strongest terms that your workers aren't meeting their targets.
  • Innumeracy:
Act surprised when you discover that 40% of all sick days are taken on Mondays or Fridays. Remember that that is nearly half!