<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d27964874\x26blogName\x3dFind+The+Boots\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttps://find-the-boots.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://find-the-boots.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d9102631802386513241', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Find The Boots

Rantings from a few corporate types about life, technology, travel, guns, politics, and everything good in the world.

Leadership, or Why do People Become The Boss?

Friday, June 15, 2007

There are four reasons people get into management:

1) They just fell into it.

2) They just want to make lots of money.

3) They like power.

4) They want to get things done.

The people that just fell into it are usually weak managers. Although there are exceptions, generally these people don't see the big picture and don't do a good job of moving the organization forward. This might be the founder of a small company that outgrows them, the idiot son of the owner, or just the last survivor in a group. You see a lot of these in government jobs.

The people that get into management to make lots of money are usually pretty weak as well. These managers usually don't understand that they become stronger by building up their employees, and instead exploit them. To them, it's a zero sum game. In order for them to advance, then need their employees to work a little harder and make a little less. Businesses such as consulting companies that charge for people's time are notorious for these types of bosses -- the only increase in productivity they can extract is to get people to work longer hours.

I'm reminded of the story of a boss who called an employee from a mountain in Maine eating a lobster dinner on a Friday afternoon and informed an employee that they'd need to work through the weekend to meet a Monday deadline. Those employees generally win in the end, because they work at trying to subvert their boss, and they outnumber the boss. Except that no one really wins in those situations.

People who go into management just because they like power are usually disasters as well. They generally don't see the big picture, and they micromanage their organizations. Fake deadlines and late hours are part of the equation, but not necessarily to advance the boss, but rather for the enjoyment of the situation. The only thing they have going for them is that they're usually consummate politicians and will move up if they have weak bosses themselves. But they won't take the employees along with them.

I had a particularly gruesome experience with a power boss early in my career. I was running a group of 15 developers in a software company of 80 people. We got purchased by a mega-corp and they assigned a power boss to run our division. He was way down into the details -- he actually wanted to look at the code my guys were writing. As the ship started to sink, he would call these all hands meetings that we called the "You people suck" meetings. He would literally scream for 15 minutes about the performance of the company and threatened layoffs if we didn't start performing. When I left I had two people left -- the other 13 quit and we never got the job reqs back. Mr. Powerboss never got his layoff -- everybody just quit. I took a substantial pay cut to leave, but it was one of the better decisions I've made in my career. Stay away from the power bosses.

If you want to get things done, management is the best place to be. Even though there's a lot more paperwork and bureaucracy, the ability to leverage and coordinate the efforts of several people is always more powerful than trying to do things yourself. Good managers understand this, which is why they don't micromanage and try to do all of their underlings jobs too. And good managers understand that the best way to leverage people is to keep them happy and fulfilled.

What kind of boss do you have? Most bosses are a mixture -- people who like to get things done also tend to like money and to a lesser extent, power. But what's the most important reason your boss is in management? If you've got a power or money first boss, you should be looking for a new job. Things are only going to get worse.

If you've got a boss that just wants to get things done, hitch up your wagon and go along for the ride. Sure, they'll also enjoy the power and money, but results are what they're all about. They understand that it's not a zero sum game -- the better you are, the better they become. You can spot these bosses because they'll hire people better than they are. They're on their way up, and they're taking their best people with them.

I've worked for all of these types of bosses. Unless you're the CEO working for a board that only cares about money (and that's true of all boards), it's just not worth it to waste your time, health, and mental outlook on anything other than a get things done boss.

It's all about making money and having fun.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button


  • At 7:46 PM, Blogger Morning said…

    My boss is the son of the founder of the company; he's also into getting things done, as long as he doesn't have to do them. He takes Monday and Tuesday off, comes in late on Wednesday, and leaves early on Friday. He also gets to decide how much money he makes, and whether or not he (or anyone else) deserves a raise. He maintains "the power of the pen", in that only he can sign checks. He's a born procrastinator, and has turned it into an art form. However, because he's gone so much, the rest of us can actually do our jobs with little fuss and nonsense. He knows that we run the company, and he appreciates that he has employees that he can trust to do their jobs when he's not around. All in all, he's the best boss I've ever had.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home