Don’t you just hate it when some smug high flying senior manager says, “My staff are our greatest asset, without them I would be nothing.” as if there was no such thing as incompetent managers,cynical colleagues and difficult people.
‘It’s not helpful for the successful to imply that they never had any trouble with their staff’
Yet few of us would go as far as Michael O’Leary, founder of Ryanair, who once said of this attitude: “Bullshit. Staff are your biggest cost. We all employ lazy bastards who need a kick up the backside.”
Both statements are true and both are misleading. It’s not helpful for the successful to imply that they never had any trouble with their staff because that means the rest of us who have spent much time dealing with the bad, incompetent, awkward, lazy and absent are doing something wrong − when in fact this is what a lot of people management is about.
Good cop, bad cop
But to treat everyone as lazy or untrustworthy until they prove otherwise is unjustified, antagonistic and cynical.
The success of your leadership career is undoubtedly down in a very large part to the effort, commitment and skill of your staff, but also on how the disaffected, cynical, incompetent and idle are managed.
If you weren’t doing this because you were too busy playing the good cop, then someone else was doing it for you by playing the bad cop.