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5 ways to wind me up


 Around 10 years ago I took up my first proper line manager role.  I remember well the fear,trepidation, the excitement and the challenge.  The team were a pretty awful team if I’m honest.  Demoralised, resistant to change, bitchy and out to massacre the young pup that I was then. 

We had some ups and downs over the 18 months that I worked with them and by the end of the time most of them had left the team if not the business as a whole.  I’m sure I made a whole load of mistakes, I certainly learned a lot about myself.  To their credit, those that stayed in the company were always polite and civil to me throughout our time together.

Ten years later, am I a better manager?  I think so.  Am I perfect?  Not by a long way (and no being in HR doesn’t mean that I have to be!)  But I do think I am more aware of my strengths and weaknesses than before and also particularly aware of my low tolerance zones:

1)  If you don’t know something, you don’t know.  And that is ok.  But for the love of God, do not bullshit me.  My bullshit detector is top class.  I am more cynical and sceptical than anyone you have ever met.  If I get even the smallest sniff of crap I will question you to within an inch of your life.  Just fess up at the start.

2)  Don’t take the piss out of me.  I’m a generous guy.  You need your boiler fixed – sure work at home.  You need to see the kids play, then go.  You feeling a bit under the weather, be off with you.  But when you’re here you work and you work hard.  There is no such thing as a half measure.  “I was just coming to that next” is not a good response.

3)  Never question my memory.  Whilst I can’t remember what I watched last night on TV or what I had for breakfast, I can remember the conversation that we had three months ago about the potential reorganisation in Sales and who was going to do what and come back to whom.  It’s an illness, what can I say.  Check the notes, you’ll find I’m right.

4)  “It can’t be done” and “it won’t work” are phrases that should be confined to satan’s cess pit for eternity.  “I can’t find a solution” now that just might make the grade.  Everything (within reason!) can be achieved; it’s just a question of working out how, when, and with whom.  Think about it……get creative.

5)  We do not wash our dirty laundry in public and we stay united as a team.  As a rule we do not fuck up.  But if……if someone gets something wrong, we sort it out, we make it good, we deal with it.  Then we kick arse behind closed doors and out of earshot when we have succeeded and it has all gone quiet.  Nobody need ever know…..

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jill permalink
    12/11/2009 12:19

    I used to bullshit my way through presentations if I was asked something I didn’t know the answer to. Someone called me on it early on, though, and I learned the best response is thus: “Sorry, I don’t know the answer to that one but I am happy to take a note down about it and come back to you promptly.” And then come back with the answer.

    Believe it or not, saying exactly that at one point actually got me a job with a good employer.

    I’m with you on that one. On the others, you rather frighten me.

  2. 12/11/2009 13:41

    One of my favorites for #4 is “That’s not my job.” Almost nothing makes my blood boil faster. Your job is to do anything legal, ethical and moral that advances the interests of the company. Period.

  3. Karen (Sayya26) permalink
    12/11/2009 15:21

    I’m so with you on all of these points and unfortunately i face them on a daily basis.

    Another one I can’t stand is if you did something wrong- fess up! Stop passing the blame on to someone else- you’re not 5 and you won’t be spanked!

  4. 12/12/2009 14:04

    Jill, saying “I don’t know” is exactly what didn’t get me the job once! BSing is an important part of consulting, apparently, so if you don’t know the answer when you are interviewing with McKinsey, make something up and make it sound good. 🙂

  5. 12/14/2009 09:34

    @Jill – Thanks for commenting. Believe me, I’m lovely really. And totally housetrained too…..

    @class factotum – You just made the red mist descend again…..not my job….my arse…..there are plenty of people who would be willing to do it…..grrrrr. As for McKinsey, I think they also check you to make sure you don’t smuggle a sould into the building inside your body…!

    @Karen – Well we do do the odd bit of spanking around here….but that just tends to be leisure activity……

  6. Darren Hoey permalink
    02/28/2010 19:30

    you just made myself smile…so much, after dealing with a few “issues”
    at the business over the past few months, I was beginning to think it
    was all…well, me, I now know it’s not all me….& more solutions are
    now in play…..Thank You So Much 🙂

  7. 03/01/2010 08:30

    @Darren – That is one of the nicest comments that has ever been left on this blog! Glad to have provided some light relief! Chin up.

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