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Archie Bunker

I'm 57 and in all my years of working, I've only had one good manager. He was from Taiwan and they have a very different management style, which Americans should learn from. He was always respectful, he moved people around into different positions in the department so he could see what position better suited us and so we understood everyone's job. He always recognized an employee who did a great job by calling everyone in the dept together to congratulate that person and he would make the person turn around so he could pat them on the back. If you made a mistake, he didn't criticize you in front of everyone. He called you in his office and talked (not yelled or belittled) you about what you. What is needed is management training in college for everyone. America seems to use a fear-based management style which will never get good results -- EVER.


An excellent column and obviously provoking some response. And a direction to investigate that seems as worthwhile as any to pursue - there's a fundamental question here of do dark minions really do the company any good or is the damage they cause profound ? More importantly can it be analyzed ?

I'm not sure that Dark Minions actually do make money at all for themselves or their company. Rather it's a question of the measurement and management systems not capturing the damage they do. One could take that top-down or bottom-up.

For the latter consider - if an asshole is abusing their team then more and more of their effort (as ALL your stories show) goes into avoiding him/her and diverting their effort into other directions. And that generalizes to a company-wide basis - can't tell you for example the number of folks at well-known large companies who've told me how bad things are (IBM comes to mind - potentially disastrous). If after several rounds of over-work, bad measurement, etc. etc. the bulk of the employees keep reducing their efforts while the watch their backs and look for alternatives you get an original 80% effort reduced by, say, 20%, at several rounds of stupidity. Well .8 x . 8 x .8 X .8 is 40% or so. In other words one gets 1/2 the effort from skilled employees that one is ostensibly paying for.

It doesn't take many iterations for this to destroy a company's capabilities. Yet because people are treated as fungible commodities instead of (uniquely) appreciating assets they're grossly mis-managed.

Turn it around - good service is a major requisite of good competitive position yet employee abuse causes them to spend less and less on attending to customers and you get the external death spiral going. For one perspective on how that played out and is "measurable' at Home Depot see if this makes sense: . My best first pass at translating the impact of dark minions into market cap impact. Made up of course but still an approach.

Now it occurs to me that I was extraordinarily fortunate to work at places like Fedex and IBM when it was hard but fair. Since then I've seen lots of the kinda of stuff you write about and clearly your book and blog has touched a huge nerve. Here's the RUB - it doesn't make economic sense for a company to abuse it's employees. Either topdown or bottom up.

Thoughts or reactions ? By the way, since your latest entry seems to have gone that way consider the 'spiritual' dimension. When people are viewed as ITs that's no way to treat an animal. When they are somebodies (a Thou) they are treated with the respect they earn.

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