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

Bosses. Remember Your Behaviour Teaches Your Team How To Behave …

Next week I start blogging properly again.

I know, you can’t wait can you. Ahem.

However last night I spoke to a friend of mine who had just been majorly fucked over at work.

Not by a client. Not by a colleague. But by her boss.

That’s right, the person who is supposed to both develop their career and be a role model for how to approach work had just undermined them in the worst possible way.

Hence this post … which I’m not letting any comments on, because I’m still on ‘holiday’. Even if I’m seemingly working harder than I have in ages. [No sarcastic comments please!]

So let’s get on with this shall we?

I have a very simple rule.

The person who writes a deck, gets to decide what’s in the deck.

Sure, there will be discussions and debate amongst the team.

Yes, the goal is always to make it as concise, sharp, provocative and interesting as can be.

And without doubt, the journey to finish line will pass through a huge amount of quality-control along the way.

But fundamentally, the person who writes it – or will be presenting it – is the person who has the final say of what’s in it.

I was trained this way.

I have lives this way.

I practice this way.

But I’m seeing – and hearing – a lot of managers who have a very different approach.

Sure, they get their teams to write a deck … but the difference is, they don’t engage in that part of the process, they just come in at the last minute and change the deck as they see fit.

Without consultation.

Without negotiation.

Without explanation.

And what makes this worse is that in many cases, these managers only have a small perspective of what is going on and so often their views are inherently flawed.

But I’m not going to talk about that, I’m going to ask one question.


Nothing undermines a team like the public destruction of all they’ve been working on.

Nothing causes a team to lose respect for a boss more than an act that shows zero respect towards them.

Nothing demonstrates delusion than believing your knowledge and abilities are better than those working on the business 24/7.

Of course a managers job is to stand for standards and quality.

Of course their job is to ensure the company always presents itself in the best possible light.

But this isn’t how you do it …

In fact this is literally the worst way to do it … even if you have a successful meeting.

Because the role of a manager is to elevate your people, not undermine them.

Guide them. Develop them. But do it in a way where they feel backed and protected … which ultimately means being honest with them, letting them solve the problems you have with their work – rather than just doing it yourself – and making sure any arguments are done behind closed doors, rather than publicly or launched on them with utter surprise.

Hell, I’m working with the most successful music management duo in music history – working with some of the biggest rock stars in the World – and they manage to do it, so why the opposite of this is happening in adland again and again is beyond me.

Please don’t think what I’m saying is managers must just stand on the sidelines, blindly and wildly clapping whatever their team produces, like some management version of Paula Abdul.

As I said, you can disagree with them.

Argue with them.

Even change stuff with them.

But you shouldn’t do it like some tin-pot dictator who feels you automatically know better than them and have no one to answer to, fear or consider.

Unless you’re a total prick.

Once upon a time, I had a manager – but not my manager – totally fuck with my work without telling me.

When I asked why they did it, they said, “I don’t have to explain my actions to you”.

I literally laughed in their face before saying, “good luck with your manager of the year application”.

Let me be clear, for all the talk we hear in companies that state ‘our people are our greatest asset’, the reality is you’re not a team when you expect everyone to serve you or think you can ignore everyone around you.

Every team may need a manager. But every manager needs to remember, they need a team.

Treat them with respect or find yourself on your own.

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