Tuesday 18 October 2011

the big fish eat the little ones....

I think I am distrustful of authority.  At work, anyway.  Actually, I'm not sure that's right: it's not that I am distrustful of authority figures at work, exactly, it's that I am demanding of them.  I expect high standards.  If you want me to do something, then I expect you to have thought it through before you ask me to do it.  I don't do this deliberately, but if I am told to do something that I think is (or might be) ridiculous, then I have a tendency to ask questions that make this stupidity plain.  Initially they're just questions, but the answers often lead me to more questions.  After all, who is the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?

This has probably definitely not been good for my career.

Today I discovered that, just as the hierarchy at work is layered, apparently so too is my distrust of authority.  I have long held a healthy disdain for the select group of people in my department known collectively as "The Leaders for Change" (or, if you must, the L4C).  They sit at the job banding just above my own and represent the top 50 managers in the department.  I don't know what I find most depressing: the fact that these people - on the whole - are patently not leaders and seem to have little interest or ability to drive change, or the fact that I'm not considered worthy of membership into a group with such apparently low standards.

Reader, I'm ashamed to say that I sometimes mock them and make light of their abilities and achievements.  It seems ridiculous to me that (many, not all) of these people are put into positions of authority they scarce seem to merit and jobs they cannot really do.  Is it any wonder we're such a shambles?

...but then I heard that someone in the leadership team at the very top of the department had been voicing exactly the same thing about this group; that they couldn't collectively inspire their way out of a paper bag*.

You'd imagine that I would feel in some way gratified that one of the really big kahunas seemed to share my view.


My immediate, instinctive reaction was to jump to the defence of the very same people I like to criticise: they didn't ASK to for those positions, did they?  Is it their fault that they have been put into these jobs?  If they aren't up to the task, then who is supposed to be performance managing them or giving them the coaching that they need to step up to the mark?  If your talent pipeline is so broken that it is cludged up with chaff that isn't able to do the job, then whose fault is that?  The blame for putting the wrong people into key positions and for their continuing poor performance surely does not lie solely with the people in those jobs.

Yup, the responsibility for the failures of this group ultimately lies further up the management pyramid. When it comes to self-defeating finger pointing and career limiting self-righteousness, I've discovered that there's always a bigger fish.

Next time: sticking it to The Man - and it surely is a man - who runs the whole damn industrial-military complex.  He's to blame for EVERYTHING, right?  The buck stops with him. Let's finish this thing.  YOU AND ME.  Mano a mano..... etc.

I'm such an idiot. I might as well howl at the moon for all the good this does me.

[*actually, on further investigation, it turns out that the whole thing was only a rumour: the leadership are apparently remaining consistent in their lack of attention to their underlings.....]

1 comment:

  1. I ask this seriously as someone who has worked for big corporates, start-ups and small-medium companies, and who is currently back at a big corporate thinking "what have I done?" as the layers and layers of management, tons of bureaucracy and people being very bothered about what grade they are and not how well they do their job depress the crap out of me - have you thought about looking for work in a small company/start-up? The one thing you don't get is authority, everyones opinions and ideas count, and there is a real buzz about working together to get a business off the ground. It's very, very hard and demanding work but also very rewarding and you get to be involved in stuff you'd never touch in a big company.