Thursday, February 01, 2007

Note to the Boss: Why We Don't Respond Honestly When You Ask, "How's It Going?"

  1. We've noticed that bad things tend to happen - perhaps not today or tomorrow, but eventually - to people who answer honestly.

  2. We suspect, due to our experience with another employer or manager, that bad things will occur.

  3. We see that a dishonest but upbeat answer will cause you to leave us alone. That is good.

  4. We think the real answer is so obvious that if you had a smidgen of sensitivity it would already be noticed.

  5. You usually ask that at moments when you are rushed and it is evident that a short, positive, response is expected.

  6. You've made it clear that positive people are preferred and it doesn't take much to be labeled a negative person.

  7. You are the personal friend of a few of the reasons why we hate it here.

  8. You are the problem.

  9. Your boss is the problem.

  10. We cannot trust you to keep anything confidential.


Rowan Manahan said...

Just perfect Michael!

I had one boss years ago who fostered a culture that gave me a bleeding ulcer at the age of 24, three nervous breakdowns among colleagues and god knows what in terms of heart attacks and strokes for all of us in later life. When bearded on this by his PA (who was drunk at her going-away party) he could not even accept that if he came into the office in a bad mood, it had a knock-on effect ...

I like Scott Adams' 'bungee boss' image - "Tell me everything, I'm here to heeeeeeelp" (as he gets yanked away by the latest re-org bungee.

Michael Wade said...

Thanks, Rowan. In one of Joseph Heller's novels he writes that in every company there is a person who is slowly going insane. What he doesn't mention is that many of them are bosses.