Friday, October 5th, 2012 at
Heard an amusing (and true) story that is both funny and unintentionally telling at the same time, but maybe not for the most immediate impulse driven opinions.
Let’s cut to the chase.
Setting: Office, entry stage left an associate back from temporary absence, subsequently confronted by superior.
“Where have you been?”
“I just stepped out to get a hair cut.”
“Not on company time, you shouldn’t!”
“Well, it grew on company time!”
“Not all of it!”
“I didn’t cut all of it, either!”
The incident wasn’t as serious as it may sound without the audio and body language, but either way, the story is funny or sad because of our expectations about entitlements.
On the one hand, the traditional management philosophy is that we’re all wankers and low life who will run away with the cash box given half a chance or even just a hair cut.
On the other, is the (not unreasonable) expectation of the individual that he or she is a responsible person who can make up for lost time and mange to carry out one’s responsibilities under one’s own guidance.
The two expectations are very different and an endless source of conflict.
You can read all the leadership and organizational change books you want it still comes down to the same conflict of two base assumptions that we cannot seem to root out.
And it gets worse. Because the only role model of management we have is the ‘you’re a wanker and I’m the manager’ model, transition into management roles invariably results in a 180 degree shift of attitude.
Perhaps it improves one’s sense of self worth to think that one is no longer a wanker. The problem is that it is not about management vs. not management. It is hierarchical so that anyone below any given level is by definition a wanker. The malaise goes right to the top.
To return to the original story, the hair cut is just a symbol, a visible sign of wankerhood. Heaven help the person who also goes for the shave.