Bad Managers Suck – Chapter 4


Enjoyed the “Chapter 3” post, and I especially like the four things that courageous managers do…I think those things are overlapping and go pretty well together.

My inspiration for this post comes from a comment on your post by Chris Fleek:

This is a good series of articles – well done Jason. The question is, will the managers who need to read these articles the most see them? And how can an employee tactfully direct their manager to them?

Good question. Really good question. It often seems that it is the folks most needing some additional insight, awareness and development that are the least likely to seek it out.

The sucky management practice I’d like to shed the light on in this post is “Expertise.” I am not speaking here of any actual kind of technical expertise that could be of real value, but rather the belief that you do not need to be actively learning and seeking out new ideas, models, examples and candid feedback.

A couple of my favorite quotes speak to this well:

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
-Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”
-William Paley, Anglo-Israel

It seems to me that if you are serious about a body of work (whether it is management, farming or pottery), you have be committed to being a student of that work…for as long as you do it. When you stop being a student of your work, you stop learning about your work (and yourself in relation to your work) and then things start to get stagnant and dysfunctional.

A big part of this as a manager, is seeking out honest, candid feedback about yourself. This is probably one of the Jedi mind tricks for great managers and it requires a fair amount of courage and humility…which is probably why it tends to be fairly rare.

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