I am happy to share with you this website. For over twenty years, at University of California Berkeley Extension and San Francisco State I have offered courses in management – a mixture of theory, self-assessment’s, and exercises. Prior to that I did the same for a variety of international clients – Shell International, Shell Canada, Alsands Tar Sands, etc. On this website I capture all of that content and offer it to you to help you discover your own managing style and, for some, to share with their work teams.
Managing other people is complicated – it is not one thing, it is many things. Being a boss in Silicon Valley with millennials is much different than being in an oil company with middle-aged folks. Alas, much of management training does not make this distinction. Either you are presented with academic concepts [Hertzberg’s Two Factor Theory] which have little relevance to who you are or what you do OR you are presented with the progressive/leftist view of business [diversity, ethics, emotional intelligence ] which sounds great until you realize you are being propagandized.
What this website tries to do is to cut through all of this and raise the right questions, allowing you to draw your own answers based on who you are, doing what, with whom, under what conditions. Sometimes you need to be tough, sometimes you need to be soft, sometimes you need to be practical, sometimes you need to be political, and sometimes, despite your good efforts and intentions, there is nothing to be done. PERIOD! A good manager recognizes these realities and adapts his or her way of dealing with others accordingly.
When we relax we watch a movie or a TV show but fail to recognize that when we get up in the morning, drive to work, enter the front door WE BECOME AN ACTOR OR ACTRESS. We are playing a role – the good subordinate, the tough boss – whatever. We know what to say, we know how to act – and the problem is – SO DOES THE PERSON WE ARE BOSSING. We know our lines, what to say, how to look and so do they. And the discussion produces nothing. Because being a boss means those who work for you have to come to your office, sit down, and listen to you. And look like they understand. And look like they agree. And then they leave your office and say, “what a crock of #$%^&&*(#“ Nothing has changed. AND THIS IS NOT BEING A BOSS.
What most interests me is what happens when one person has authority over, is superior to another. For the dirty secret of management and business is that an artificial relationship is created – one person, the boss, has the ability to help or hinder the other person – the employee, previously called the subordinate. For some, being “in charge” means trying to make work life better for others. For others, being “in charge” means doing whatever the higher bosses want. For others, being “in charge” means using their position to advance their own interests. And in each of these cases, what is valued affects how work is done and the quality of the workplace.
For example, in the military, in non-commissioned officer training [sergeants and above] one fundamental lesson is taught — “the troops eat before you eat, the troops bed down before you bed down.” Being in charge means to serve others, to make their lives better. Sadly, that is not the lesson taught in most MBA programs on in-house company training.
What this website – Bosses, Bossing, Being Bossed – offers is a series of reflections, exercises, case studies, and power point presentations to help you understand the complexities of being a boss – what happens when one person is superior to another. The website also offers an opportunity for personal discussion and coaching via Skype, for those who might desire this. For my former IDP students, this coaching will be free. For others, after the initial “free” interview, the fee is $45 per session. When you first enter the website you get access to 20% of the material; once you register the entire website is available to you.
So welcome to my attempt to share with all of you my view of the world of dealing with folks at work. I hope you find it useful and of benefit. And I look forward to your comments, questions, and opinions. And, for those of you who wish to contact me personally, I look forward to re-connection with all of you around the world – old friends and new.
DILBERT © 2010 Scott Adams. Used By permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.