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Entry 304, on 2006-03-28 at 14:51:03 (Rating 4, Comments)

Recently I have been involved in a situation where the true absurdity of modern management hierarchies has become even more obvious to me (I was already convinced they were very inefficient and counter-productive, but this just confirms that thought).

I'm not going to be too specific, because I need to protect the guilty, but the essential problem is that any pyramidal hierarchy generally involves the person at the top being misinformed and ignorant.

Why does this happen? In my experience I find that most managers are the type of people who have relatively poor or, at best, mediocre skills in their field, and therefore tend to drift into areas where those inadequacies are less apparent. I know this doesn't apply to everyone, but it does seem to be a trend.

The second problem is that the top management tend to have a complex structure between them and the actual "workers", so they only receive information through a series of intermediaries. Even when direct reporting is possible for everyone, more credence tends to be given to other, less senior managers. Naturally these junior managers tend to heave even less clues than those at, or near, the top.

Everyone has their own way of looking at things, and their own biases and beliefs, but this can be significant in managers because there is no balance. If one senior person, and a few of his junior colleagues have a certain way of doing things, there's nothing much that can be done about it, no matter how valid, or otherwise that may be.

I have always coped with this phenomenon by just keeping away from it. When I'm informed that the management aren't too happy with me I consider that I must be doing the right thing. If they ever start approving of me I know I've gone wrong somewhere. No one ever achieves anything but mediocrity by following the party line.

Here's a couple of quotes which illustrate the way I think about this. Andre Gide said "You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." And the best of all is Mark Twain, when he said "When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform."


Comment 1 (729) by Sam on 2007-07-20 at 17:20:00:

Oh, quite the rebel aren't we? Do you not think there are situations when it would be better if you worked as a team player. Don't you think its better to work with your fellow workers and managers instead of against them?


Comment 2 (730) by OJB on 2007-07-20 at 17:28:13:

Quite the rebel? Well maybe, but I don't go out of my way to cause trouble, I just don't avoid it when it happens. And there are probably times when working in a cooperative way is beneficial, but my personality just doesn't suit working in a team. I do my own thing - and the consensus is I do it pretty well - so I just want to be left alone to get on with it. If other staff or management get in the way I don't tend to just meekly do what I'm told!


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