Sunday, June 12, 2011

The 7 Habits Of Highly Ineffective Managers



The world has changed. Things are different than they were. Nothing is the same, except one thing: bad management, which is as eternal as death and taxes.

The sweeping changes in society and rumbling shifts in a globalized marketplace are giving the business world a massive tummy ache. What's needed to address this problem is a huge square "Alka-Seltzer" made out of paper.

And that's the reason for this book.

In today's world, we face challenges of many different kinds, ranging from "How should I order my coffee at Starbucks?" to "How can I get that damn 'Whip My Hair' song out of my brain?"

Our problems and pain are universal, which is why we need universal, timeless, self-evident principles common to every management team throughout history. I did not invent them and take no credit for them. I've simply identified and organized them into a coherent framework.

If you want to achieve your highest aspirations and overcome your greatest challenges, buy this book. Better yet, send me $1,000 in unmarked bills. I could use the money.

Habit # 1: Be a Know-It-All


The powers that be made YOU the boss. That's proof positive that you're smarter, better and faster than any of your employees. Make sure that they know that you could do their job better than they could do it... if you weren't so busy doing important manager stuff. For instance, if you were in sales back when the Internet was just a twinkle in Al Gore's eye, feel free to tell your sales team exactly how to they should be approaching their opportunities.

Similarly, if you once programmed in COBOL, it's entirely appropriate to tell a programming staff exactly how to write C++ code. In fact, you should probably get into their files and make some changes, just so that they know that you're on top of their game.

Here's the thing. Everyone knows that an employee will not respect a manager who knows less than his or her employees. If you let them think that you're not as smart, they'll be clamoring for raises and bonuses! And that's money that could be going into your own pay package!

Make sure that EVERYONE in your team ALWAYS knows that you're a cut above the hoi polloi that tremble at your feet. That way they won't get uppity.

Habit # 2: Manage Numbers not People


Management pundits go on and on about empowerment and teamwork, but the simple truth is that the only thing that's REALLY important is the bottom line. Business is all about making money, and if that means making people miserable, well, so be it.

Does this mean that you shouldn't worry about employee morale? Certainly not! You should always make a point to explain, in fulsome detail, that employee morale is vitally important to the company. In fact, send out a memo to that effect! And make sure that everyone has a coffee mug with the company logo on it.

Problem solved!

Now that you've dealt with that pesky morale thing, turn your attention to the real business of management, which is squeezing out every last drop of productivity out of each employee. For example, it's always a great idea to put everyone on salary and then insist upon 60 hour weeks. It's just like getting 50 percent more people at the same price!

Hand out raises and bonuses as if each extra dollar is a major concession. Make sure that everyone knows that they're replaceable. If you deal with customers, make sure that you never, ever leave money on the table, even if it means sticking them with crap they'll never need or use.

Follow this habit religiously, and you'll always have wonderful Powerpoint decks to present to the bigwigs in board room. After all, what those guys care about are the numbers, right? Employees? Screw 'em.

Habit # 3: Embrace the Status Quo


Forget about all that crap about innovation. If something ain't broke, don't fix it.

The entire structure of the corporation is specifically designed to ensure that those in power stay in power. Since you're now in a position of power, the status quo is, by definition, the best of all possible worlds. Why would even think about making alterations?

Remember: the only people who like really changing are urine-soaked babies. For everyone else in God's green world, it's far easier to let everything stay as much same as possible.

Now, does this mean that you should reject all the wonders of modern technology? By no means! Technology is to be embraced, wholeheartedly, and then harnessed to buttress the status quo.

Take the Internet, for instance. If you don't get your employees plugged into the Web, they won't be able to get their work done. Just make sure that you monitor everything that they do and filter out any site that you don't like. That way, you make sure that whatever they do fits within the circumscribed boundaries of the status quo.

What's more, a corporate Internet is an excellent way to keep tabs on your employees. Give them smartphones and track their locations. Be sure to check all their emails, texts, and entries on social media sites. If anyone does anything you don't like, call them on the carpet, or give them the ol' heave ho.

That will teach those losers what happens when they dare to think for themselves.

Habit # 4: Divide and Conquer


The best way to manage a team is to make sure that one half hates the other half. Ideally, you want the entire group to be a seething swamp of resentment and pique -- all of it aimed at co-workers rather than you!

There are many ways to do this. First, make sure that people doing the same job are paid differently and receive different levels of recognition. If possible segment by gender or race!

Second, never pass up an opportunity to set two employees at each other throats by repeating unkind things they've said about one another. Hint: if all else fails, make something up!

Third, always have a scapegoat to take the blame if something goes wrong. Ideally, you should rotate this role, so that everyone has a chance to feel miserable... and then to beat up the next guy who gets to take the blame.

Finally, and most importantly, make certain that you're always the person to put the finishing touches on a successful project, if only to "keep peace in the family." That way, you can take the lion's share of credit while throwing some crumbs on the floor for your underlings to fight over.

Habit # 5: Do It Yourself


Here's a truism for the ages: "If you want something done right, do it yourself!"

The great heroes of this world (and that means you, bucko!) don't rely upon drones to get the job done. Heroes swoop right in and do the job right!

For example, if you're a sales manager, it's always a good idea to take over an account right before it closes. Demand to be in on a customer meeting and do the negotiations yourself! After all, why should you depend on an underling to do the job, when you can do it so much better??

Similarly, if you're managing engineers, wait until the job is almost done and then jump right in and make the changes that will make the product truly wonderful. After all, that's why you're the manager, right? It's your job to make sure that everything is high quality.

And don't believe any of that BS about the importance of delegating. Delegating is for sissies who can't think strategically. Think about all those books you've read by top CEOs like Jack Welch! Did they delegate? Of course not! They captained the ship and keel-hauled the flunkies.

Another side benefit of this habit is that your employees may eventually conclude that they can do nothing without you. Now that's job security!

Habit # 6: Expect Mindreading


The best way to keep employees on their toes is to make sure that they never know exactly what you're thinking.

If you're asked your opinion on something, always say: "Well, that depends." If you're asked for a decision, always say: "I have it under consideration" or (if you're feeling particularly frisky that day) "I have it under active consideration."

When you assign projects, always be as vague as possible about what you'd like to see. Think of it as a way to spur creativity! Then, when you're asked to review the project when it's complete, simply say: "That's not it." Then smile, give the employee a friendly pat on the back, and say: "Back to the drawing board!"

Think of it this way. Business is like poker, and if you're going to win at poker, you can't let your opponent know when you're bluffing or whether you're holding four aces. You don't want to be the kind of moon-faced fool who gives away his strategy to all and sundry, do you?

Remember: Your ability to remain in power is directly dependent upon your ability to keep your employees confused and disoriented. After all, if they know what they're supposed to be doing, why would they need a manager?

Habit # 7: Sharpen the Axe

As the Boy Scouts say: "Be Prepared!" And in the world of management that means being prepared to fire your underlings at a moment's notice. Of course, you can't (unfortunately) kill underlings with an axe any longer, so you must now interpret the 7th habit metaphorically. In this case, "sharpen the axe" means making certain that you don't care a rat's behind whether your employees live or die.

One way to "sharpen the axe" is to select role models from the most successful CEOs of the past 20 years. Most of them have built their careers on exporting jobs and downsizing domestically. Why, some have even managed to build supply chains that depend upon slave labor and child labor in the third world. Then they can fire U.S. workers by the thousands!

Go ye forth and do likewise!

Another way to "sharpen the axe" is to read plenty of Ayn Rand, whose philosophy of business is tantamount a "soul-ectomy." After you've read enough Rand, you'll find it impossible to care about all those moochers and losers who aren't as successful as you.

Finally, if all else fails, you can "sharpen the axe" simply by remembering the motto immortalized in The Sopranos: "It's not personal... it's just business."

Thanks to Geoffrey James / BNet / CBS Interactive;drawer-container


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