The manager mediates between the hard demands of the stock In УThe Dance of Change,Ф we discover that companies often fail market and the soft demands of workers. On paper, there is no tension, at organized efforts of self-improvement. By one study, 70 percent of Workers will be committed and creative if they are respected and con- Уre-engineeringФ campaigns founder. Another study estimated that two sulted. Good ideas will bubble up from below. Managers will be re- thirds of Уtotal quality managementФ programs do likewise. These failwarded for their openness and understanding. But in real life, conflicts ures implicate the capacity of middle managers. Are they guiding abound. Galvanizing consensus is often time-consuming. Sometimes it's change or simply being swept along УOur core premise,Ф write the undesirable because some ideas are better than others. And getting authors, Уis that the source of these problems cannot be remedied by people to obey without alienating them is hard if they: (a) disagree more expert advice, better consultants or more committed managers.Ф with you; (b) hate you; (c) are incompetent, or (d) spend the day surfing What then follows is Ц 573 pages of musings from experts, consultants the Net. and managers.
Little wonder, then, that no group in America is more advised The enduring popularity of self-help books like these. I suspect, and analyzed than managers. I know this, because I receive a steady reflects a widespread insecurity among many managers as a class. (But flow of review copies of management books. Just who reads these I also suspect that the best managers disdain these books. They trust books has always puzzled me: if you manage something important, their own instincts and knowledge.) The common craving is control; the when would you have time But someone must read them (or at least common fear is chaos. But the latter is rising while the former is falling.
buy them), because the publishers keep pouring them out. Of course, Someone must have an answer. In one way or another, all these manthe publishing industry has a well-deserved reputation for being dimwit- agement books hold out the chimera of control. The fact that they don't ted. But it can't be that dimwitted. deliver may not diminish their appeal: if you're confused, it's reassuring Here, for example, are two recent arrivals Ц УProfit Patterns: 30 to know that everyone else is, too.
Ways to Anticipate and Profit From Strategic Forces Reshaping Your Perhaps managers couJd once succeed-or at least survive Ц on BusinessФ and УThe Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining status and technical competence. There was a chain of command. AuMomentum in Learning Organizations.Ф As management books go. thority was respected or feared. Machines regulated production jobs.
these seem to be more informative than most. But exactly how will they This era has ended. The almost-universal task of managers today, in our make it easier for managers to manage culture, is to serve twin masters, each of whom has grown more de 49 manding. There's the Organization with Its imperatives; and there's the 14. What are some alienating managerial qualities that you have Individual Ц each with Уneeds.Ф This is a tough job, and somebody's got seen or heard about (How did this manager alienate his\her subordito do it. But not me. nates and colleagues) 15. What was the most dimwitted thing someone at your comVOCABULARY REVIEW УWHY I AM NOT A MANAGERФ pany did or said last year 16. How do you plan to clobber your competition 24 words from the article are used below in management-related 17. What kinds of blunders have your superiors or subordinates questions. For further practice, try writing and answering questions made which involve other contexts (social, political, etc.) 18. How is your company promoting change and innovation Or 1. Describe a superior/manager that you dislike (or disliked in the is it just being swept along past).Why did you resent this person(what actions, qualities) 19. What is the core premise of your company/department/unit 2. How would you hint to one of your superiors that he/she is not 20. How could the issue of low salaries in Russia be remedied an effective manager What are the consequences of criticizing your Should it be remedied or are the low salaries a competitive advantage boss(either directly or indirectly) for Russian companies 3. How many workers in this region perish in job-related acci21. Which enduring legacy of the Soviet Union is the most diffidents each year Describe the safety measures your firm takes to avoid cult for Russian managers to deal with Why There is a saying: what accidental deaths on the job.
cannot be cured, must be endured. What are some of the negative fea4. Explain which five aspects of your job you relish.
tures of Russian business life that cannot be changed easily and must be 5. Explain which three aspects of your job you are dread.
endured for now 6. When you need to feign self-confidence, what techniques do 22. Which management roles do you distain Why you use 23. What professional opportunities are you craving How can you tell if someone is feigning competence 24. How would you reassure an interviewer that you are the per7. Why people want to be managers baffles the author of this arson he/she should choose for a PMTI internship ticle, Robert Samuelson. Explain a career choice that baffles you.
8. Give an example of why someone at your company was deTEXT moted. In general, what are the reasons someone at your company might be demoted PREVIEW 9. When was the last time you chewed out one of your subordiThe Уbad bossФ is a familiar character of TV sitcoms and carnates What was the reason toons. But when youТre dealing with a real-life bad boss, the situation is 10. Do you monitor your employeesТ break time, Internet use, hardly amusing. According to this essay, difficult bosses fall into sevetc. Or do you give them leeway eral categories. Learning to recognize these types can give you some 11. How do you coddle your subordinates Why Do you plan to guidance on how to work successfully in a challenging situation.
continue this practice 12. How do you deal with a very competent and efficient emWORDS TO WATCH ployee who is nasty to his\her colleagues modus operandi (6): method of operation;
13. What management principles abound in the average Russian cower (8): shrink back in fear;
company What management principles abound in your company browbeating (8): bullying;
litmus test (10): a test using a single factor to indicate something;
51 subservient (12): obedient; Bad bosses often have a recognizable modus operandi. Harry vulnerable (14): open to ridicule; Levinson, a management psychologist in Waltham. Massachusetts, has outplacement (17): helping former employees find new jobs; catalogued problem bosses, from the bully to the jellyfish to the disaprapport (19): understanding; proving perfectionist. If youТre suffering from a bad boss, chances are recurring (21): happening again; he or she combines several of these traits and can be dealt with effecparaphrase (26): put what someone has said into other words; tively if you use the right strategy.
prioritize (27): put things in order of importance;
brusque (29): rudely brief: rough in manner and speech. The Bully During his first week on the job, a new account manager at a small Pennsylvania advertising agency agreed to return some materials How to deal with a difficult boss to a client. When he mentioned this at a staff meeting, the boss turned Donna Brown Hogarty beet red, his lips began to quiver and he shouted that the new employee should call his client and confess he didnТt know anything about the Harvey Gittler knew his new boss was high-strung Ц the two had advertising business, and would not be returning the materials.
worked together on the factory floor. But Gittler was not prepared for Over the next few months, as the account manager watched cohis co-workerТs personality change when the man was promoted to workers cower under the bossТs browbeating, he realized that the tyrant plant manager.
fed on fear. Employees who tried hardest to avoid his ire were most Just two days later, the boss angrily ordered a standing desk relikely to catch it. УHe was like a schoolyard bully,Ф the manager recalls, moved because heТd seen a worker leaning on it to look up an order. He Уand IТve known since childhood that, when confronted, most bullies routinely dressed down employees at the top of his lungs. At one time back down.Ф or another he threatened to fire almost everyone in the plant. And after Armed with new-found confidence and growing knowledge of employees went home, he searched through trash cans for evidence of the ad business, he matched his bossТs behavior. УIf he raised his voice.
IТd raise mine,Ф the manager recalls. True the type, the boss started to For many workers, GittlerТs experience is frighteningly familiar.
treat him with grudging respect. Eventually, the young man moved up Millions of Americans have temperamental bosses. In a 1984 Center for the ranks and was rarely subjected to his bossТs outbursts.
Creative Leadership study of corporate executives, nearly 75 percent of Although standing up to the bully often works, it could make the subjects reported having had at least one intolerable boss.
matters worse. Mardy Grothe recommends a different strategy: reasonУVirtually all bosses are problem bosses, in one way or another,Ф ing with him after heТs calmed down. УSome bosses have had a problem says psychologist Mardy Grothe, co-author with Peter Wylie of Probwith temper control all their lives, and are not pleased with this aspect lem Bosses: who they are and how to deal with them. The reason, he of their personality,Ф he explains. Want a litmus test If the boss atsaid, lies in lack of training. Most bosses were promoted to management tempts to compensate for his outburst by overreacting and trying to because they exceiled at earlier jobs Ц not because they have experience Уmake niceФ the next day, says Grothe, he or she feels guilty about yesmotivating others.
terdayТs bad behavior.
Uncertain economic times worsen the bad-boss syndrome. УThere Grothe suggests explaining to your boss how his temper affects is an acceptance of getting results at any price,Ф says Stanley Bing, a you. For instance, you might say. УI know youТre trying to improve my business executive and author of Crazy Bosses. УAs a result, the people performance, but yelling makes me less productive because it upsets corporations select to be bosses are the most rigid and demanding, and me.Ф the least able to roll with the punches.Ф 53 Whatever strategy you choose, deal with the bully as soon as pos- The Jellyfish sible, because Уonce a dominant/ subservient relationship is established, УMy boss hires people with the assumption that we all know our it becomes difficult to loosen,Ф warns industrial psychologist James jobs,Ф says a woman who works for a small firm in New England. УUnFisher. Fisher also suggests confronting your boss behind closed doors fortunately, he hates conflict. If someone makes a mistake, we have to whenever possible, to avoid being disrespectful. If your boss continues tiptoe around instead of moving to correct it, so we don't hurt anyone's to be overbearing, try these strategies from psychologist Leonard feelings.Ф Felder, author of Does someone at work treat you badly Her boss is a jellyfish. He has refused to establish even a basic To keep your composure while the boss is screaming, repeat a pecking order in his office. As a result, a secretary sat on important calming phrase to yourself, such as УIgnore the anger. It isnТt yours.Ф correspondence for over a month, risking a client's tax write-offs. Be Focus on a humorous aspect of your bossТs appearance. If cause no one supervises the firm's support staff, the secretary never sheТs got a double chin, watch her flesh shake while sheТs yammering. received a reprimand, and nobody was able to prevent such mishaps УBy realizing that even the most intimidating people are vulnerable, you from recurring. The jellyfish simply can't take charge because he's can more easily relax,Ф explains Felder. afraid of creating conflicts.
Wait for your boss to take a breath, then try this comeback So Уyou must take charge,Ф suggests Lee Colby, a Minneapolisline: УI want to hear what youТre saying. YouТve got to slow down.Ф based management consultant. УTell the jellyfish: This is what I think I Finally, never relax with an abusive boss, no matter how charm- ought to be doing. What do you think' You are taking the first step, ing he or she can be, says Stanley Bing. УThe bully will worm hir or her without stepping on your boss's toes.Ф way into your heart as a way of positioning your face under his foot.Ф Building an indecisive supervisor's confidence is another good strategy. For example, if you can supply hard facts and figures, you can The Workaholic then use them to justify any course you recommend Ц and gently ease УSome bosses donТt know the difference between work and the jellyfish into taking a firmer position.
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