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5/17/11

Managers aren't (usually) good Leaders

Monday was a hum-dinger of a day.

And yes, I said hum-dinger.

Yesterday was my company's annual all-day meeting, where the employees congregate in a local hotel banquet room and spend the day listening to recap presentations and "State of the Agency" addresses from upper management.

It's been a while, but this event reminded me why managers make horrible speakers.  And usually bad leaders.

First off, we were handed an itinerary of the day.  Lots of speakers, so each person was allotted 10-20 minutes, depending on their topic or hierarchy within the company.

15 minutes?  Fuck You!  I'll speak until I'm done!
The first speaker was supposed to talk about the Peace Corps for 15 minutes.  It was the 50th anniversary on the Peace Corps, and she was in it.  When it first started.

She pulls out the slide projector... 

40 minutes later, I know more about a small South African province than I ever thought possible.  And we are already behind schedule after one speaker.

The transition from one speaker to another was ghastly.  Every manager had their own powerpoint presentation on their own thumb drive, and none of them set up before it was time for their speech.

Watching managers being managed reminded me of herding cats.  It's an exercise in futility.  In the large group of managers, there wasn't one effective leader among them.  Morale was not boosted.  People were not motivated.  Instead, we all sat and were lectured, over and over, waiting for lunch to arrive.  Or 5...

The next five speakers went like this:

  • 10 minute timeslot
  • 3-5 minutes to set up powerpoint, and refocus the projector (even though, if they left it alone or paid attention, they would notice that the previous person already did this, and the projector was in focus)
  • 1-2 minutes of jokes on why they were happy to be here, or why their department is the best (and y'all can suck it)
  • 15-20 minutes on a powerpoint presentation, explaining to everyone what their department does, and boring statistics for the year.

    Of the 112 employees present, about 8 were "new" and this was their first all-staff meeting.  Me being one of the newbies, *I* even found the "This is who we are and this is what we do" speeches dull.  I couldn't imagine if this were the 5th time I've heard it...

    And holy crap, the powerpoint... it's like they have no idea how to set one of these up to make it the least bit stimulating.  I felt like I was being executed via powerpoint...

    Lastly, every department has its own acronyms, but none of the managers seemed to realize that a noob like me has no idea what ARRA, AoA, CCAP and the like mean.  All of your stats focus around these acronyms, so they must be important.  But what the fuck are they?

    Meetings like this make me glad I'm not in management anymore.  Even though I always tried to engage my audience, I don't want to be lumped into the same group as these people.  Either they give management a bad name, or they're doing it justice.  I'm siding with #2...

    The highlight of the evening was the banquet at the end of the day.  The food was ghastly (pressed turkey loaves, anyone?) but the no-host bar more than made up for it.
    Wild Turkey > Processed turkey

    The booze definitely took the edge off, even though I ended up sitting next to the HR director for dinner.  Thanks to her, I probably had about 1/2 the drinks I really wanted, which was probably a good thing.

    So I survived the once-a-year shindig that is my company's all-staff meeting from hell.  Remind me to be sick sometime next May...
    Please Share it! :)

    30 witty retorts:

    The Angry Lurker said...

    Here's to next year and ear plugs.

    Zombie said...

    Managers are always terrible leaders. lol.

    BlackLOG said...

    I was at an internal conference last week and to be honest it was sickeningly sleek….except for one of the directors, who I happen to know is a decent manager, sticks up for his staff and shares the success etc…etc…. Only when he stood up to speak, it was like he had developed the power to drain the energy from the room, it was so horrible.

    I had to shut down most of my body and mind functions as I fought desperately hard to survive the experience. It was worth it though as during his wrap up I became conscious enough, as the drugs started to wear off, to over hear him mutter the phrase “Which is how I remain so dynamic” I stopped trying to stuff my eyeballs into my ears and started to concentrate on not pissing myself laughing and wishing I had brought a spare pair of trousers with me…..

    Matthew MacNish said...

    If you're company is anything like mine, you have two managers for every employee. The organizational chart is supposed to be a pyramid, people.

    Tony Van Helsing said...

    Any dickhead can become a manager these days, they are like cockroaches. Its bad news when the highlight is the booze.

    Xenototh said...

    I still think you have to be an idiot to be a manager nowadays. The pay isn't worth it. My managers have literally twice my work load and make less than me because of commission. That and when there are problems, I just say, "I am not a manager, talk to them." It's like a get out of jail free card. Thank god my yearly wrap ups aren't like this, though.

    Gucci Mama said...

    I had all these aspirations to be in management when I was working and I became a department head pretty quickly.

    HATED. IT.

    Of course, now all I manage is diapers and swimming lessons so perhaps the grass is always greener.

    You said "hum-dinger".

    Grandpa.

    Lost.in.Idaho said...

    @Gucci: See what happens when I hang out with old people all day? I start talking like them. I'll be needing a Viagra prescription by July... ugh.

    @Xeno: I agree. Management in most cases isn't worth it. Maybe that's why most of them here have that "I don't give a fuck" mentality and always look so detached?

    @Nish: I think the word 'manager' is tossed around too much in titles nowadays. My title at one of the old sales jobs I had was "Account Manager," even though I didn't manage crap. I sold shit, that's all.

    ThePittsofBeingPeachy said...

    I can totally tell you the symptoms to fake an awesome heart attack. You don't even have to scream " OH Lordy this is it Elizabeth" or anything... seriously. Or, put a comment in the box everyday between now and then that the wild turkey is up prior to the speeches, OR, offer to do their power points for them and do like Disney animators and throw in some hidden porn easter eggs in there. Just saying. You could make this a lot more fun for everyone. Love the spud.

    after3 said...

    Ive spent 15 years working for douche bags to learn information that I could have learned in this post.

    a3

    Bart said...

    lmfao managers are never good leaders. ther role is to motivate. and they dont always do that.

    Kicking Rocks said...

    very rarely will you find a manager is a good leader

    Nom de Plume said...

    Sit at the back and sleeeeep!

    Rob said...

    I've never once thought that anyone whom I worked for, to be a good leader. I probably would have been laughing and telling jokes the whole meeting and got fired by pointing out everything you did.

    D4 said...

    I would've had fun. My sense of humor is very easy to trigger. Especially if they're THAT bad.

    ScottD said...

    thats why its nice to be your own boss ;)

    Smart Ass Sara said...

    Oh-- I literally LIVE for the "review our event" surveys at the end of meetings. Seriously. People need to know they are awful, not competent enough and that pressed turkey loaves will not be tolerated.

    Annabelle said...

    We have a monthly staff meeting, that always include the state of things portion, the committee updates and various other shit. It drones on and on....but there's booze so it's not too bad.

    THAT sounds like hell on earth.

    The Pokemon Master-er said...

    Powerpoint... God. My teachers have absolutely NO idea how they work, but they HAVE to use them... All. The. Time.

    LilPixi said...

    Sounds grueling. It would make for a great story if somebody had gotten really shitfaced & acted outta line.

    G said...

    IT's all in the name - 'Manager'...how are you doing? I'm managing...
    managing = coping = surviving = doing just enough to get by

    Jay Reid said...

    You can drink wild turkey straight? That stuff is too strong for me, and I like whisky.

    Dale said...

    Next year I suggest a couple mimosas before the event ;) It really does make an enormous difference when managers can make a power point presentation slightly entertaining and it is possible. Glad you made it through the day

    -Dale :)

    On My Soapbox said...

    Oh gawd, I hate those all-company rah-rah meetings. At first, you think, "Yay! I get out of work!", but then you realize that you'd much rather be working. If there's ever any reason to take a Vicoden or Percocet when you're not in physical pain, this is it.

    Autumnforest said...

    Why would that do that when everyone has spring fever and is restless? Brilliant! I'm so glad I work from home. My company meetings involve me wearing a teddy and tap pants and downing a cold beer in front of a horror movie.

    Astronomy Pirate said...

    See, managers are the people that suck at doing work, but are great at telling other people how to do theirs. They've managed (lol) to sneak up the corporate ladder and whenever they find someone else with these qualities, they boost them up to management.

    BTN Hip Hop said...

    seriously managers suck, people do courses in management. lol

    DUKE SAMSON said...

    whats the dif between a manager and a leader?

    A fucking beard man

    funny pictures said...

    Until you're a manager then you're a great leader and role model haha.

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