Potholes · Women in the Workplace

Save your money: There is no deal in Cheap Management

Warning: Not all managers are created equal.

I realized this as I sat across the table from mine – sizing him up. I was looking at him like he was a product on a shelf, which he basically was, as he spilled out corporate jargon about how he stood with the company [even though it was screwing me over].

What did he cost? Couldn’t be that much. But clearly he was bought.

It seems like everyone aspires to Management. Maybe because of the nice bonus checks that come with it. Or maybe we just think that’s the natural progression and way to show you’ve arrived. But not everyone is right for management – which probably shocks about no one.

Management is like being a parent. Suddenly your number one priority isn’t your own agenda. Your goal is to make sure the kids make their goals. Being a parent can be really rewarding – especially when your kids make you proud. But it can also be a royal pain.

Because ‘kids’ need help to reach their goals – so you better be ready to pitch in. 

When you are on the ‘kid’ side of the management family, you don’t get a seat at the table. Just like Thanksgiving at Grandma’s, you are sentenced to the worst seating with the worst guests. But if you are lucky, Mom and Dad check in to make sure if you cleaned your plate, you get the slice of pie you deserve.

Unfortunately, managers rarely have the loyalty of your own kin – and you often find yourself sitting alone without an advocate. That’s what happened to me.

My manager was my advocate. He recruited me for my job. He promised me he’d do all he could to ‘make things right’ when my job was completely changed, promotion dissolved and experiences of sexist behavior began to stack like a deck of cards.

And then he stopped.

From what I can tell, my manager experienced one of the most common, and brutal, potholes of management: self-interest. He no longer wanted to stick his neck out for other people because he had his own plans – his own goals – he needed to achieve.

While I can understand self-interest, there is no excuse from a manager. When you sign up for the gig you accept that you may have to put your own pursuits second because you are responsible for the fate of others.

Not everyone is cut out for this. It’s cool, it’s fine. But if you sign up for the management ride, you don’t get to jump off at the top of the hill. 

When I lost my manager, I lost a lot. I no longer had an advocate, or someone sitting at that Adult Table representing me. But I lost more than that. I lost the trust and respect in my company to select the best people to lead others. 

When I lost my manager…I lost the trust and respect in my company to select the best people to lead others.

Guess what? You don’t get that back.

So choose wisely who fits into that Management Track. And candidates, think long and hard if this is the road you want to take.

Looking across from my manager as he was singing a new tune – turning his back on me and what we once both agreed was ‘the right thing’ – I realized how little he cost.

Here sat a man who sold his integrity, his judgement and  his loyalty for a bonus check and a bigger office. I couldn’t help but think, “What did I honestly expect from something so cheap?”


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