The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Fifty Not Out …

I know what you’re thinking …

Or should I say, I know what you were hoping.

That hitting 50 and having 10 days off would make me re-evaluate what I’m doing?

That I’d start to value afternoon naps versus writing stupid blog posts.

Well, if I was smart, maybe that would be the case … but I’m not, so here I am.

To show my age has done nothing to extinguish my pain-in-the-ass spirit, I thought I’d post about a little project I have going on.

It kind of comes out of the Corporate Gaslighting work I’ve done and basically relates to what seems to be the skills, modern management values most.

Now there are plenty of very, very good leaders out there …

But, and this is only personal opinion, it seems there are far more bad.

Now I appreciate some will view what I’m doing and say the people I’m describing are not bad, they are simply ‘optimising’ their position. However, managers should achieve their success based on what they enable their people to achieve rather than trying to ensure the spotlight falls just on them … so because of that, I stand by my view.

What’s scary is these attitudes and behaviours are so common that someone thought – when I posted one on social media – that I was celebrating them rather than mocking them.

That scares the crap out of me.

But not as much as the idea employees are being trained – consciously and subconsciously – to do this to further their career.

But I would like your help …

What am I missing?

What are terrible management practices that are being sold as ‘sensible’.

For example, with the blame thrower at the top of this post, I added the following:

If you don’t own your mistakes, let someone else own it. #LessonsFromModernManagement

And for this …

… I added this ‘lesson’:

It’s more effective to manage up than manage your standards. #LessonsFromModernManagement

But what else is there?

I’ve got one regarding the benefits of doing whatever someone wants you to do as well as destroying others careers is it proves you were made for success … but as I really want to turn this into some sort of alternative management book type-of-thing, I need a ton of them.

I know they’re out there.

I know I can come up with a lot myself.

But if you have any suggestions, I would be so grateful.

It may help someone not become the sort of manager that appears on Corporate Gaslighting.

Or allow someone who is suffering from this sort of ‘leader’, to realise they’re not to blame.

So I hope you can help.

Over to you …


Well look who is back. I know you had a good birthday break because you posted 7000 times on every platform. You probably reserved all the tickets for the Tulsa rally to shame Trump.

Managing up drives me crazy. I see it all the time. If it was about raising quality of work that would be one thing but it’s not. It’s reinforcing the ego of the person above. Trying to win their favor even if the work is poor. And it works which makes it even worse.

You should do one that talks about valuing others time unless you need something doing. That’s a personal favorite, similar to your “our staff is our greatest asset when they do as I say”.

Comment by Bazza

👏 💯

Comment by George

You’re back. There go my early nights. Welcome back Robert, I hope you had a fantastic time. Your present for Paul was inspired.

Interesting project. I agree with you that many people are being taught to think this sort of management approach is normal. If you think this is bad, imagine what the next generation of management will be like.

I am very much in the camp of hiring better than yourself. Jobs said it best. The moment you hire at a standard lower then you, the lower each level down becomes. Maybe that is my submission for your project. “Hire lower than yourself and always be assured of your position in the origanization.”

Comment by George

That is a good one. I don’t know how to phrase it but I think there should be one about equal opportunity for all employees as long as you’re male and white.

Comment by Pete

Welcome back Rob. Older, but as you said yourself, not wiser.

Comment by Pete

The Peter Pan of immaturity.

Comment by Bazza

Thanks folks, had a lovely time apart from some un-necessary work stuff. Can you tell I’m still pissed about it? Hahaha.

All good suggestions, but underpinning them all is the feeling too much management is focused on keeping their position safe rather than elevating others up to the same level.

I get some companies value that – seeing management as purely maintaining desired productivity and efficient levels, but I see it as more than that because I was lucky to always have bosses who saw it as more than that.

Of course, I’m not saying productivity levels aren’t important, but if you help your team grow, you elevate standards and suddenly the whole business benefits because of it … which, for me at least, is a much better way to run a department than simply telling people to do the same thing, just quicker.

Comment by Rob

You are right Robert, they are all about protecting their management position.

Comment by George

The path of least resistance is the one to take.

Comment by John

Strategy is sacrifice – management is sacrificing others.

Comment by John

Don’t own anything. Or Spread thin and wide.
If you’re « involved » in a maximum amount of things, it makes it easier to claim credits on the successful ones, and disavow the ugly children…

Comment by JC

This post proves what I always knew. You were always an old bastard even before becoming an official old bastard. Seems you had a great birthday. Always coming up roses aren’t you.

Good thoughts. You should turn it into a book. I’d buy it just so I could send it to all the pricks of bosses I’ve had before. You’re not one of them Rob. I know. Shocked.

Comment by DH

Here’s one for you Rob.

Don’t waste time reinventing the wheel when you can repackage it and make the client pay you exactly the same amount for half the time.

Comment by DH

Delegate the work, monopolise the credit.

Comment by John

Oh yes, I used to say I saw way too many leaders take the credit and spread the blame. That’s a good one.

Comment by Rob

Spread? Throw.

Comment by Bazza

Of course it’s a good one.

Comment by John

I left what would sound like a dream job to most people because of how awful the management was, not that long ago. I decided to pull the plug in my probation period before it got too far down the road, and my confidence took too much of a knock. In one of the exit interviews I had before I left my manager laid this parting pearl of wisdom on me “you should find out more about the culture of a company before you join…”

Also, I always remember one of my old bosses at another company use the term “success has many fathers, but failure is a bastard”.

Comment by C

Hello there C, thank you so much for your comment.

I’ve been there too.

It was supposed to be my ‘dream job’ … I couldn’t have written a job description more perfect … and then I realised the only way it would be what I hoped it would be is if I didn’t have to deal with others in the company.

In short, they hated me. Hated what I represented and what I had been asked to do. To make it worse, the person who hired me didn’t back me as he realised that may cause division with the rest of his team so he left me to die and pretended it was my fault.

I was young enough and brash enough to just walk away. I did think about staying and trying to prove them wrong but fortunately I realised they’d never let me do that. More … I realised that I’d be an idiot trying to win the respect of people I didn’t respect. That would literally mean they had made me worse and ultimately would win.

So I left. And then I started a company called cynic. And then we won the biggest client of my previous employer. And I didn’t feel any sense of sadness when that impacted their business. Which is a shitty thing to admit, but so is hiring someone and then not backing them just because they didn’t want to have any awkward conversations with people who had got them in to the mess I had been asked to sort out.

Comment by Rob

Thanks Rob for the reply. I appreciate you sharing your story too. It’s a shame that this stuff seems so rife. I feel lucky that I’m in a job now that I love and feel appreciated in.

Comment by C

Explore and placate the real issue, but Manage the (chronic) symptoms (over to the next quarter).

Much like medicine is now focused on managing chronic issues, instead of curing them, company managers are often incentivised to manage the symptoms with things like perks, flex work, bias training etc because actually curing underlying company/ team culture issues rocks the boat too much.

Comment by niko

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