I often talk about teams, team management and all that stuff which makes people happier. The problem is it takes oh so much time to keep people happy, motivated, empowered and whatnot. Wouldn’t it be better idea to forget about all that crap and focus on work, you know, the real work?
If that’s how you’re going to lead you people I have a few advices for you. Applying them will definitely ruin any relationship you might have had with the team and your people will definitely stop expecting from you anything besides the next edict with the updated task list.
- Forbid one-on-ones. People keep coming to you to discuss different issues. They want to share their problems or discuss raise or present an idea. You have enough of your problems, raise is impossible anyway and any idea which isn’t yours is definitely bad so why to waste your precious time?
- Don’t share information. Usually managers share information like what’s happening in the organization, what projects may come, why the hell you’re reorganizing whole company for the third time in a couple of years, etc. The more you tell the team the bigger chance is you may share information which is about to change which would make you losing your credibility. Also it makes people expecting more and more news. They may even request more transparency. No, information sharing is a bad idea.
- Cut discussions. You’re the boss, right? So you know better. Any discussion on your ideas is plain waste of time and should be cut as early as possible. If you let someone convince you in public discussion you lose credibility and glory of infallible. Talking about infeasible ideas, aka ideas authored by others, is a waste of time too.
- Blame others. If something goes wrong you can always find a team member who is responsible for failure. If they had done the right thing there wouldn’t have been any problem. After all, you’re so damn great, aren’t you?
- Usurp success ownership. If something goes surprisingly well it is your success. Even if you haven’t done much personally, it all happened thanks to your exceptional management skills. Don’t let anyone to say something else. After all it is you who present the success up there in front of senior management so it isn’t even difficult take over all the glory.
- Micromanage. Tell people what should be done. Tell them how they should do it. In details. Verify their progress as often as possible. If you don’t they would end up drinking coffee and surfing the internet and you don’t want to let it happen. After all someone has to work on your successes, right?
- Don’t praise, criticize instead. If someone does good job that’s what they are paid for. No need to praise them for that. On the other hand you can’t omit any chance to criticize people. When criticizing, don’t go into details; let them figure out what you expect from them. Well, they told you they were kind of intelligent so let them show that. Besides you already wasted enough time telling them they perform poorly.
- Squeeze. People are capable to achieve more than they typically do. Think about the last emergency situation when everyone gave something more – they stayed late, they showed incredible team work and they fixed the project. They proved they can do more, so you should expect that on a regular basis. If there is no external pressure on the team create some by yourself. Squeeze them until they work at higher possible pace. Forget about burnout, it’s overrated.
- Everyone can be replaced. No one is important enough to think that they’re irreplaceable. That is, except of you of course. There are queues of eager candidates willing to take over jobs of your team members. Say that. Tell them why they should feel uneasy about their jobs. This would make them work even harder to keep their jobs. Fear is great motivator.
- Be an asshole. That’s an easiest way to show them who’s the boss. You don’t have to be nice to everyone. They will listen to you anyway. If you are an asshole they will be scared of you so they will take seriously every word you will say. After all they pay you not for being nice, but for being successful. Besides, geniuses usually are assholes.
Being serious for a while, you can treat it as a test. If you regularly fit any of these criteria you score one point. If at the end you have at least a point there is something wrong with you as a manager. If you’d score a point or two on rare occasions only, well, I guess everyone can have a bad day, but I hope these occasions are really rare.
You can also make this test against your boss. If the score is anything above 3, I’d look for a chance to change team/organization very, very soon. It isn’t healthy to work under this kind of management.