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Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2008 10:16 PM



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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Feedback

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Post #452004
Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2008 11:09 PM
Right there with Babe

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Oh my, Steve - that's a big can of worms you just opened! I suspect you'll get more interesting comments from those using an alias. :D

I've been in corporations where I didn't trust the VP levels, and ones where I did (and it depended greatly on the VP's actions over time). And yes, I've been on that "short list", since I tend to be pretty outspoken. Oddly enough, I've never had a problem finding another job within 3 months of starting the search - and the only time I went 3 months was when I started in December (yeah, Christmas break slows things down). I guess the hiring managers at my preferred companies valued honesty above brown-nosing (and I'll pass on working for any the prefer it vice-versa).

I think that's a good question to ask during the interview, along with "what's your company's five-year plan look like" and "explain how your group handles a project with an un-realistic time frame". It gets mighty quiet in an office when an interviewee pops off a question that is soooo unexpected! "Do you trust your [twice-removed] manager to make appropriate business decisions related to your group and the projects you normally support?" I love to watch those eyeballs pop...

Here there be dragons...,

Steph Brown
Post #452010
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 1:43 AM
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Totally agree with those sentiments - seldom (bordering on never) have i worked in a job where short-term career path to the top wasn't put in front of everything else. The thing I find amazing, though, is that these people almost never see that doing the groundwork well will untimately advance their position simply by allowing them/their teams to be more productive (and produce more quality - which is often overlooked too).

The general trend for me is.....get a job in a place that talks the talk at interview but in reality is a my butt off to introduce patterns and practices, architectures and frameworks with zero support from above...deliver quality apps to the desk on the back of the poorest of analysis(I single out end users and bypass the reams of useless documentation - every time I'm amazed at the uselessness of business/systems/etc. analysis)...then...I ALWAYS find that "managers" crop up out of nowhere and take over, pilling in behind the success of the project/product.

I'm used to this now and know that that's how it works but it just totally bemuses(and often amuses) me that these folks don't even invest the time to know what the product actually is/does/etc. before claiming it as their own.

I also find that if a project is successful suddenly, overnight, the management hierarchy deepens - career builders on the move which is fair enough but ultimately it leaves the people who made the thing a success feeling futher down the ladder. So often have I seen the best people with the most motivation and drive to have a project succeed - and who ultimately MAKE the thing succeed - being...well...ignored. And I not just talking about technical people but mostly, in fact, the users who drive the thing on behalf of their peers.

The other thing that does annoy me depending on my mood on any given day is managers taking full credit for things while the person who did that work/came up with that idea/etc. is actually sitting in the same meeting - if managers are reading this you lose nothing but merely "implying" that it was a "team effort". What you gain is some respect from your team and, to my mind equally, respect from the people you are ultimately trying to impress.

Ok, rant over. And I don't even know now if it was even on topic so, about the manager/executive asking for feedback I will say that a group meeting like that is very seldom a good forum in which to get honest and useful feedback. But then I suspect the manager in question already knows that.

Post #452056
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 2:49 AM

Ten Centuries

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I think we should link this topic back with yesterday's (about employee recognition), because the two are very closely related.

Do I trust my management one level up? Yes.
Two levels up? Yes.
Three levels up? Yes.
Four levels up? Yes.

Why? Because they've all demonstrated a willingness to fight in my corner. If I've done something good, all of them have at some point or another come over and thanked me. If I've made a mistake (so long as it's not a repeat of a mistake I've made before), they've let me correct it, helping out as necessary. If I've said something unpalatable to them for all the right reasons, they've listened.

The general philosophy is that people can't improve without risking making mistakes, so if you want the improvement you have to live with the errors too. As a company, we tend to praise in public, criticise in private, and don't do too badly with morale and positive feedback as a result.

Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat
Post #452081
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 5:05 AM



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We have a relatively flat structure here. There are three levels above me. My direct supervisor, her boss, and then COO.
The question of do you trust manager X is interesting. Yes, I trust them, but at the same time I don't. It is in the best interest of a corporation to keep quiet about terminations. I cant speak for other states, but here it is "Work at Will". A company can fire you for no reason, just as we are able to simply walk away from our jobs. And it is for this reason that management doesn't tip its hand.
When I was a consultant I was brought into a company (now gone, go figure) to fill a vacancy that was created. The new VP for IT was brought in to "clean up" the dept, and rather than cherry pick the talent and cut the dead wood, she simply fired every single employee en masse (about 50 people). Had them escorted out the door by security. That's when myself and about 3 dozen consultants were brought in. Her stated rationale was she didn't have the time, nor desire to sift through the employees. She also wanted to A) set precedent, B) start with a clean slate. Do I think she went overboard, yes. But unfortunately, we never got to see if she would succeed, 9-11 came around and all consulting contracts were terminated, and the company collapsed about 3 months later.
Oh, and the comment about senior level sacrificing a junior member for their personal gain.. I think you're being overly optimistic. I've seen plenty of instances when the sacrificing was merely for amusement, personal sentiment, (corporate & public sector) politics, and/or plain old fashioned mean spiritedness.

Honor Super Omnia-
Jason Miller
Post #452130
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 5:18 AM
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One thing which is important to point out is a large study that was done. 1 of 10 VP/etc have or has slight psychopath tendensies. One example of this is, the boss walks into the room with 10 employees, he makes a joke, but it's at one of the 10 employees expensive. This is to put himself above the others but still make peeps more or less happy but also to show who is in controll. Now 1/10 is a much higher number then what is avarge (which I have forgotten). Just thought it might be relevant to mention.

I find it best never to have high expectations but take it as it comes. Dont trust and dont give a weakness away unless relly needed. What one says and what one does is for many people very different things. It's few of us that does what we say.

Post #452135
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 5:48 AM
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Corporate executives (and managers) are not taught leadership - what it means, what it takes, what the rewards are. Leadership is all about creating that trust, so that you can "lead" your team to do things that are against their better judgment sometimes, because they trust you. It is how you move from herding cats to actually managing.

Leadership skills are not expected of execs, and they are not evaluated on how well they lead.

When an executive does actually have and use leadership skills, in my experience, they are at least tolerable and add value to the process.
Post #452147
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 5:53 AM

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Good stuff Steve.

I believe there are two types of managers: those who say "Follow Me!" and those who say "Go Do That!" I consider the first type Leaders because, well, they're leading. I can't think of a good term for folks who simply Dictate what they want others to do... can you? ;)

:{> Andy

Andy Leonard
Data Philosopher, Enterprise Data & Analytics
Post #452149
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 6:11 AM


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The problem with doing the con call and then asking for questions is that short of implementation specific questions (do I get one gold star or two if Im good?) everyone knows the course has been set. If you really want feedback embrace transparency enough to convene a meeting of a good cross section of the troops, tell them the problem you see, the potential solution you see, and then open up for discussion. You may get rants about your solution (or your problem definition), but you may also get some alternatives you had not considered. As long as they know its not a democracy they'll still appreciate being part of the decision cycle and you can leverage their involvement when you make your announcements.

On the employee side, while maybe it's too late, what's the harm in asking the question? Odds are you're not the only one thinking it and when was the last time someone got fired for asking a question? Asking a good question could well affect things and if nothing else, shows that you're thoughtful and heck, might even be a leader someday!

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Post #452152
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 6:24 AM


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During my 20 years in the military (I retired and joined the corporate world 10 years ago), I learned the military views management and leadership as two separate ideas. You manage resources and lead people. It seems most corporate executives are managers, great a controlling budgets and other non-human resources, but poor at leadership. Often times because it is much easier to manage than it is to lead.
Post #452162
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