How can I help? 

The manager who likes to say “Yes”

He is a very caring human being, with a good set of professional values . He is a terrible manager.

 

It’s the mantra of the new chief executive. He starts every conversation and answers every question with ,” How can I help you”. At first it’s different, then amusing because of the frequency he says it. But before long it becomes just irritating. We get it he sees his role as helping employees and by extension customers. He clearly wants to be seen as different to what went before. First morning he calls all his managers together and sacks a whole department on the spot. All except one manager who he prompts and asks to recruit managers with less focus on the bottom line and more on customer experience. It’s the US apparently you can hire and fire like this. He asks his senior managers for suggestions.At first his request is meet by bewildered silence then one of the assembled managers asks to replace the vending machines with a fresh fruit and vegetables , a Farmers Market type stall in the lobby, clearly a pet project. The new boss says ,”yes”. The new boss likes to say yes. 

 

Saying, ” yes “ quickly leads  him to over promise customers and over commit the service. He is a very caring human being, with a good set of professional values . He is a terrible manager. He tries to micromanage the organisation in a whirlwind of activity literally running from one meeting and one conversation to the next. He fails to delegate, he doesn’t listen when managers raise concerns brushing them aside as excuses and telling them to get creative. The situation quickly descends into a crisis. He is forced to recognise that he is out of his depth. He calls an emergency all managers meeting, acknowledges he has made a mistake and asks for them to help him out of the crisis. Everyone pulls together in a one off supreme effort  and gets the situation back under control. 

 

The chair of the board says we didn’t recruit you to act like this. The chief executive responds you recruited me because you wanted to change things and you knew I would not be afraid to upset people. To which the chair says you’ve got 12 months

 

Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk 

 


 

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