The Politically Incorrect Mom


Sunday, August 07, 2005

A little whine – hold the cheese…

It’s Sunday evening and I find myself, once again, dreading the workweek ahead. It’s not so much the work as it is the things that interfere with me getting my work done. In my current position, I find myself in a place where I am given a lot of challenges and goals to reach without being equipped with the resources and/or authority to reach many of the goals. This forces me to do one of two things – I either achieve/exceed the goal by mere stubborn resourcefulness (and I can be pretty resourceful – particularly if someone irks me), but this usually ends up costing me much more time and stress than it’s worth OR I cop an “I no longer care” attitude. I hate when the latter happens and I have to admit it’s been happening more and more these days.

I am a good manager, but my management style doesn’t mesh well with those who thrive on creating an atmosphere where you push people to their breaking point and then throw them a bone when they are right at the edge. It’s the dangling carrot philosophy. Dangle the carrot all the way to the edge of the cliff and i
f the poor schmuck is willing to dive off the cliff to get it – they’re weak and don’t have the leadership qualities we want on our team. If the schmuck gets to the edge and says, “you’re crazy!”, you say, “hey, I was going to give you the carrot a mile back – aren’t you glad I didn’t? Then you would have never known your potential!”, therefore implying they are weak and without backbone or the drive to reach their potential on their own. In the end – the only ones who are ever considered the champions are the ones dangling the carrot.

My style is quite different.
I do believe that sometimes you have to push people a little to get them to work to their potential. I also believe that it doesn’t take long for a manager to see what potential a person may have – even if they don’t see it themselves. If you are a good judge of character (and of course, I think I am...except when it comes to dating), then you are usually able to quickly ascertain whether someone is going to end up being a champion for the organization, or dead weight. While I do think that sometimes people need to be sort of “led” to their potential, I do NOT agree that 99% of all employees will not work to their potential unless you force it on them. I also don’t buy into the idea of pushing people to their breaking point and then pulling back ever-so-slightly to let them catch their wind and then pushing some more. In my experience, the typical result is either pushing the person right out the door or pushing the person completely over and all you have left is road-kill – and guess what??? You’ve created dead weight out of a potential champion.

I have a few people working for me who are true champions. I also have people working for me who I would classify as little more than a warm body. Some of the “warm bodies” were created by the powers-that-be within my organization and may or may not have had potential when they began their employment, many of them decades ago. Some of them never had the potential to be much more than dead weight to begin with.

Tomorrow I have to hand down a decision regarding the continued employment of one of the warm bodies. A passive aggressive, manipulative, piece of white trash, who has not done one solitary thing above and beyond what she absolutely HAS to do to get by in her position and has managed to create a network of people around her who usually do her job for her. I didn’t hire her (even though my job is to hire/terminate all employees). My employers pulled her in while I was on vacation last year with a quick, “oops! Did we forget to tell you?” And now that I have wasted a year of training on her, she’s my problem. In the past I’ve defended this woman, hoping she would see that she is being supported and step up to the plate, only to see her take advantage of it and move on to more manipulation. Letting her go is not going to be a big loss in the greater scheme of things, particularly if I can replace her with a champion. The problem is – as little as she does, she does do SOME things and the loss of what is little more than a warm body is going to create stress for the champions I already have. At the end of the day – it’s always me who gets shot in the foot.

Ok, I’m through venting (it wasn’t whining, I swear!). Tomorrow is a new day. A day during which I will either terminate or extend the employment of someone who isn’t even worth 50% of her salary. These are the days when I swear if Taco Bell could pay my bills, I would gladly sit in the drive-thru window and say, “do you want hot, fire or mild sauce with that?”


  • At 6:38 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't help but notice the WHITE TRASH comment.I don't think you should hold a management position.

  • At 7:07 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Bethany said…

    Sorry if my comment hit too close to home.

  • At 7:36 PM, August 10, 2005, Anonymous Karl said…

    Hey Anonymous...
    The site is called THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT MOM. Like the author often says "this site is not for pansies". If you get offended that easily, don't read the blog.


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