Why Does “Management Crap” Happen? Part III


Pride is the mask of one own’s faults 

Jewish Proverb

In my last entry, I mentioned that politics is one of the culprits behind management crap. Too often time politics get in the way, and we often see the “fruits” of it within a short period of time : unqualified executives warming the seats of important poisitions and making poor decision choices.

Now as humans, granted one of the attributes that we all share in common is our need to learn. And part of learning requires making mistakes, that’s a natural byproduct of our lifelong learning process. And of course, they higher we go up in life, making mistakes naturally becomes costlier.

But another thing I have observed is, the higher we go up, be it whether it’s in our careers or our own lives, the harder it gets for us to admit our faults. I have seen this happen too many times in my workplace, especially among my supervisor and managers.

I have always wondered –

Why is it so hard for someone to say sorry for something?

Why is it so difficult to admit it was your mistake?

Is there some unwritten rule that says apologizing makes you look weaker?  Okay maybe you might hang you head low in shame for a couple of days, but so what? Humbly accepting your mistake with sincere humility actually can help improve the situation because people have already AKNOWLEDGED the problem and it’s time to move beyond the issue and concerntrate on finding what to do next.

I say this method works because I’ve gone through it myself. I remember being a project manager for one of my IT network projects, we had done a fanstastic job with implementing the network system, but we missed out on a small part, the installation of the network printers. Rather than pointing who is to be blame for it, I immediately took up to responsibility and told my management “okay so we made a mistake, we overlooked the printer, what do we do now? How do we recitify this?… How do we move forward from here?”

Although management was a little unhappy about that incident, coming clean with the error and pressing to move on really helped the whole project. Admitting to the client we overlooked the printer and promising to rectifiy it immediately helped pacify the client and we could move on. 

Sadly, most executives are too proud to admit their mistakes. They’re too proud to say “okay we messed up, what do we do from here, what contigency plans can we take?”  

Rather what do most executive do? They look for scapegoats, someone to shoulder the blame for them. They complain about how the other party has not been working properly with the team, or they complain about the individual not pulling his weight blah blah blah.

Someone else, just not me is their attitude

True, there are instances where it’s really the other party’s mistake, but most often than not, whether it’s someone else’s mistake or fault, very few will actually own up and try to stir the team. In a crude way, when shit hits the fan, no one wants to be near it.

Instead who’s to shoulder all this? Indirectly it’ll be the lowly powerless employees. Suddenly just because of somebody else’s error and refusal to bite the bullet, lowly employees get pressed to the wall ; they’re forced to complete their deadlines, they’re forced to stay back late, they’re forced to produce flawless work in a ridicioulous time frame. 

Management’s mistake, no one takes the blame, lowly employees take the shit.

If only we had senior managers who had the balls to admit where they’ve gone wrong and just carry the team back to the original goal, now that would truly be a real leader…

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