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Robyn McIntyre

Steve, what confuses me is how some companies continue to reward "management" that can demonstrably be shown to be leading to lower productivity and profit. I'm speaking specifically about the kinds of managers who consistently receive recognition for such behaviours as watching their subordinates' arrival times and doing such wacky things as using a tape measure to ensure smoking employees don't stand closer than the corporation's mandated 25 feet from the entrance, or moving operations to a location farther away from their suppliers or clients (true stories). Why does exec level management reward them?

PS: I hope you're getting my emails now.


Yes, it is interesting that we don't start off wanting to be a bad boss or manager. And people fear dreadfully the feedback that they are making a bad job of 'leadership'.

Is bad leadership the equivalent of opaque financial practices? Something that goes on because it can?

And when it stops, abruptly, leaves a vacuum?


I think the emails are getting through.

Given the examples you cited, one would have to scratch one's head in wonder.

Frankly, I don't know of anyone who gets rewarded for these things; they just aren't told to stop. Which then, over time, makes the practices even more acceptable as they become embedded in the culture.

Steve Roesler


I hadn't thought about it in quite that way before.

Extending the premise that you get what you reward:

a. I want good leadership

b. I don't give any feedback, pro or con, to my managers

c. No feedback = tendency to continue doing what one is doing the way one is doing it.

Why "c"? I've rewarded good and bad management equally. Both types of performers have received a silent "go ahead" because of my own lack of performance management.

In the absence of being held accountable for what is *good*, human beings will gravitate toward that which is at least neutral.

The result? Lowest-common-denominator performance.

Allison O'Neill

I am on a crusade to help 'bad bosses'. I believe some are so busy doing the bosses work they forget how to lead. The way the workplace is headed with flexiblity, work life balance etc people are being less tolerant of jobs they arent passionate about - this has a lot to do with bad bosses. Workers cant be bothered working for a jerk! There shouldnt still be bad bosses in this day and age!

Steve Roesler


Kudos on your crusade...I think we should have a cape designed for you. Really.

I wrote a post on the "bad boss" thing a while back and will find it and reference it again. It was about the fact that in this day and age--with all the research, psychology, and performance data available--many bosses still choose to manage in unproductive ways. Of course, there is another factor: their bosses choose to reward them for other kinds of behavior.

Whether it's at work or in the neighborhood, who wants to spend time with a jerk?

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