View Full Version : Leadership or Management?

Tartan Gannet
7th Apr 2002, 17:49
In a recent edict, the American parent of the company I work for has decreed that henceforth they wish to be referred to as the "Leadership" rather than the Management.

Now I laugh at this pathetic Corporatespeak Bullsh*t and am well used to the way the Septics, who love jargon, mangle the English Language.

This does however pose a question. To my mind "LEADERSHIP" is a gift, a quality, one either has it or one does not. I cannot be taught and is NOT a mere job title appended to ones ID Badge as for example is "HR Manager".

Some people have Leadership, as an example, Thatcher, Blair, Churchill, Oliver Cromwell, Montgomery. Those lacking that quality? John Major, Michael Foot, Neville Chamberlain, William Hague, Earl Douglas Haig of WWI notoriety.

I would be interested if Jet Blasters agree with my contention that Leadership is inate not bestowed nor learned and who they would list as famous people having Leadership and those sadly lacking this gift.

BTW, I am most certainly NOT a Leader myself but an Administrator or Implimentor of the orders of those who manage.

7th Apr 2002, 18:03
Leadership is something earned.

It can only be real if proven to be true, by deeds, over time.

To use it as a business title bestowed by some deck chair re-arranger flunkie is a farce. You are a Leader only when your staff (people) regard you as a leader.

bugg smasher
7th Apr 2002, 18:04
I’d be more than happy to give you the ‘Septic’ point of view, but you’ll first have to tell me to whom precisely do I address these remarks; smug member of a “certain secret society of gentlemen”, or mere working-class administrator. I prefer the latter myself.

Moritz Suter
7th Apr 2002, 19:13
Mr. Gannet,

BTW, I am most certainly NOT a Leader myself but an Administrator or Implimentor of the orders of those who lead.

This disappointing revelation would tend to qualify you as a 'follower', and thereby singularly unsuited to such comment. You're somewhat tawdry congratulation of the thug Cromwell ably illustrates this point I fear.

Mr. Smasher is correct in urging caution afore deriding latest developments from the Harvard MBA program. You might not like the terminology, Mr. Gannet, but I rather think that a company's 'leadership' whilst not only vastly more appropriate metonymy than 'management', provides something one may look toward in a much less adversarial way, than is currently all too sadly the case.

7th Apr 2002, 20:32
Tartan Gannet

The attempt to distinguish between leaders and managers originated in the work of a man called Abraham Zaleznick of Harvard University. What he did was to define a leader and a manager. The manager generally did the day to day job of manging whilst the leader made sure he had time to develop a vision of where the organisation was going and was concerned with the strategy of the organisation.

This idea has been developed by John Kotter of Harvard and others such as Warren Bennis.

if you look at
http://www.kaiserpermanente.org/medicine/permjournal/winter01/ClinChampsHS.pdf you will see at Table 1 Characteristics of managers and leaders.

There are few people who we would define as natural leaders, so those who write of management have to agree some kind of compromise. The result is the concept of leader and manager. If you think of visions, many of us have visions of where the organisation should go in the future. Sadly, few (true leader in your definition?) can turn vision into reality and sustain it.

7th Apr 2002, 21:06
Now there's a chap who certainly put his leadership skills to good use TG eh?

Tartan Gannet
7th Apr 2002, 22:25
Good, I now have confirmation that this rubbish comes from that great source of Corporate Newspeak and gobbledegook, Harvard Business School, the fountainhead of many of the wacky workplace policies inflicted on Industry over the last few years.

Now having been called a "Working Class Administrator" , I happily acknowledge this. I have held Management posts in the past, did not feel at ease therein, and prefer to work the bench, my LIFE lying outside of the premises and time frame of the 37.5 hours that my WORK entails. Yes I do belong to a "Society of Gentlemen" this is one of the interests which make up my LIFE, a relaxation, a recreation, the WORK portion being to provide the funding to indulge such pleasures amongst others. I work to live, no more nor less and have no time for "Mission Statements" "Corporate Visions" etc. Put simply, to my mind the company I work for sells and repairs electronic equipment, the end purpose of this when taken to the base line being to make a profit to pay a dividend to their Shareholders (Stockholders) and to provide funding to employ people such as myself, develop new products, etc, etc. For 37.5 hours Monday to Friday I sell them my time and talents and try to give of my best and most dilligent work in those hours but once out of the door I dont want to know about them, their products, etc and so forth.

Yes, I DO take an adversarial view, I prefer to be considered an employee and management to be management, both I and they know where we stand in such a case. I do NOT consider them to be my "Leaders" and most assuredly do not "BUY IN" to use another piece of jargon to the "All one big happy family " routine, well knowing that , if it suited their purpose, I could be made redundant at the drop of a hat. For this reason I NEVER attend any social functions organised by the Company, I like to keep my REAL home life and my work life as separate as is practically possible, not letting the one interfere with the other.

So if this flies in the face of the received wisdom of Harvard Business School, tough sh*t. I know that my outlook is far closer to that of the average British worker than the posturings of some academics.

As to my including Oliver Cromwell as an example of Leadership, this neither implies agreement with nor condemnation of his policies. I also included Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, neither of who's polices I agree with, but acknowledging that both have that quality of inate Leadership I admire.

So folks, back to the question posed and I would like to read other Jet Blaster's lists of whom they consider to be Natural Leaders and those who aspired to such but were sad failures.

7th Apr 2002, 22:29
TG - can I just correct you on one thing?

They most assuredly would not make you redundant. They would carry out a reassessment of your job function, and decide that it was suitable for financial nil-wards downsizing.

7th Apr 2002, 22:38
Obviously they were people who were able to Think Out of the Box eh, HM.;)

Question slj, was the bloke of who you speak paid to do this study. If anyone wanted to find the answer they could have gone straight to the Ministry for Stating the Bleeding Obvious for that one.

7th Apr 2002, 22:44
hey TG - you took the words out of my mouth!!

Work to Live not Live to work!!! :cool:

8th Apr 2002, 00:35

You averr that leaders are born and not made. You may not care to argue with me on this matter, but may I turn your attention to the words of the the Administrators or Managers of the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell - who one supposes may know a little about the subject of leadership.

"...This [Initial Officer Training] course is carefully structured to reflect the RAF philosophy that very few are born leaders, but if the potential is there, they can be trained..."

You can find more on the subject here:


In mentioning Churchill, Thatcher et al, you make the common mistake of confusing leadership with charisma. In fact many if not most managers today seem to lack leadership, but that doesn't mean that the situation cannot be corrected by suitable training.

Through difficulties to the cinema

Gunner B12
8th Apr 2002, 03:05

No matter what the forces decree they work in an artificial environment in that once they qualify from the course they have to be followed at risk of punishment.

A true leader is someone people choose to follow and unless someone does follow they can not by definition be a leader.

In industry there are few leaders, again it is the artificial situation that we need the job to live the life we choose and no matter how much training they give my "Leader" the only reason I follow is my chosen lifestyle. I believe most workers work to live not live to work, the difference only being if you enjoy what you do or not.

:) :)

8th Apr 2002, 07:35

I presume that Zaleznick was paid for his original article. Even if he was not, then he and others have made small fortunes out of books, seminars and the like over the past 20 plus years.

In the UK writers on management have sought to develop the ultimate theory of management. This is not possible. What the Americans have done is to move to looking at successful companies and describing what they see. An example is NUTS the story of Southwest Airlines. Was Herb a good leader? Many would say so. These stories of good management (or leadership) might show us how we are going wrong and more importantly whether we have the culture (defined as how we do things here) to do the same. The intent is to learn from good examles.

Being a leader sounds so much posher and impressive than managing. This elitist view has much to do with the attempts to make leaders out of managers.

Charismatic leaders such as Thatcher et al are leaders because those that call them leaders define the term leadership to satisfy their preferences and theories.

Finally, a leader as follower does not have to be a good guy or girl.

8th Apr 2002, 08:24
Once again, TG sparks off an interesting discussion.

In my opinion, there are two types of "leaders" - those born with natural leadership qualities and those who develop into leaders either through training or experience.

As a previous poster said, they are people who people would choose to follow, rather than being "required" to. It is therefore wrong to describe all business managers as "leaders", although individual managers may merit the appellation. Unfortunately, most probably do not.

I very much understand and agree with the "work to live" ethic, and just as soon as I have earned enough to ensure that I can live for the rest of my days in the style that I wish, I will retire. However, as a manager, and owner of my company, I know that the company cannot be successful without the wholehearted support of its employees (at least during office hours :-). I therefore see it as my duty to my employees to make their work as enjoyable as possible and to ensure that they know that they are valued in their respective roles. Unfortunately, too many companies pay lip service to this approach without applying it.

To answer your original question of who else could be described as leaders (please note that this does not indicate my agreement with their philosophies); in my opinion:-

King Solomon
Charles Edward Stuart
Thor Heyerdal
Richard Branson
Dare I say it - Hitler!
Can't remember his name, but the bloke that inspired "We were soldiers"
Dali Lama
Mohammed, Jesus and numerous other "spiritual leaders"

Tartan Gannet
8th Apr 2002, 08:41
This thread is developing in an interesting manner and I sense a dichotomy between those who have a "career" and those like me who simply have a "job".

Once, I thought I was pursuing a career but abandoned that concept many years ago. Now I have a JOB, one I quite enjoy doing but in the end I do it for 37.5 hours a week, Monday to Friday, simply to provide the funds to live my life outside of my work. If you like there is a nearly impermeable (sp?) wall between the two, I try to keep my home affairs from influencing my work, and exclude my work from my life outside of my employer's premises and the time for which they pay me. Although I act in a cordial manner to my workmates, I only socialise with one outside of my work, and do not involve myself with any Company activities such as Summer and Xmas parties. etc

To my mind all I ask of any employer is the following:-

A decent wage commensurate with my skill and abilities

A clean, safe and comfortable place of work.

The training required to perform my work to our mutual satisfaction.

The necessary equipment and spares to carry out the work.

To be treated with courtesy and respect by other employees, superior, equal and subordinate.

Not to interfere in any manner with my private life outside of their premises and the working hours for which they pay me.

In return I will work with the utmost of my skill and ability to perform the duties for which I am paid and will treat my fellow workers, superior, equal and subordinate with the same respect as I wish for myself.

Put simply, as others on this thread have said, "I work to live NOT live to work!" What's wrong with that?

One test I apply is this , "If you came into enough money , (Lottery Win, Legacy, etc) would you continue to work for an employer?" In my case the answer is a resounding NO!

The other test being, "If one day you came into work and found that another company had taken over your employers, but your pay and conditions would remain the same, would you care? " Again my answer is NO! In essence an employee is only as good as the last piece of work he did and an employer as the last pay cheque he gave you.

Cynical? Sure, but the result of being shafted too often by employers.

Gunner B12
8th Apr 2002, 08:57
The point which springs to mind here is that these days we don't really have an employer to be loyal to. Only some figurehead group that calls themselves management but are simply the representatives for the faceless money hungry group known as the shareholders.

The shareholders feel no gratitude to me for my contribution to the profits which line thier pockets and would lose no sleep over casting me and my dependants adrift if it would increase said profits.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with this situation but as with the passing of the "Job for life" stability of the past, most management teams don't realise that the employees now feel the same way towards the job as they feel towards the employee. I think they still think we should be grateful for having a job, any job.

The move towards calling themselves leaders is simply an attempt to fool employees into thinking there is a reason to follow rather than just go with the flow.

Tartan Gannet
8th Apr 2002, 09:42
Well put Gunner B12. This is the point missed by the Management Gurus these days. When an entire business can be bought and sold by the multinational conglomerates who own them as an ordinary person might sell a car or a house then what price employee loyalty?

It is interesting to note that a survey published today by The Work Foundation (Source BBC Ceefax page 141), states that job satisfaction has plummeted since 1990 in the UK and productivity remains behind that of many other countries. An increasing number of people were unhappy in their work. So much for the benefits of the "Lean, Clean, Mean" work environments proclaimed and extoled by the "Experts" of Harvard Business School and elsewhere.

The Work Foundation continue that "the widening UK productivity gap will only close when businesses tackle growing disaffection among staff.

I feel we need a reversion to some tried and tested methods, the scrapping of gimicks, silly jargon, patronising pictures such as the so called "Motivation" series to be found on the walls of many companies these days, (the silly ones with pictures of trees growing on rock faces etc), and treating employees with respect and dignity, and where possible, returning some stability and job security to the workplace is what is called for. British workers are NOT lazy but are sick and tired of being taken for granted but not taken seriously by Management.:mad: :mad: :mad:

8th Apr 2002, 10:03
I am with you 100% on this. I am in the fortunate position that I was able to take early retirement some years ago. Now I enjoyed my job and in fact thought it was probably the best job in Aviation, but when the time came and I could afford to retire I did it without looking back.
Companies will not think twice about making people redundant if it suits them. The division I worked in for BAe was reduced from about 15000 people to just 1800 and they closed a site, transfering production to Woodford. Then relocating Customer Support from Hatfield to Woodford then to Toulouse in an ill judged and disasterous amalgamation with ATR which eventually collapsed. These so called managers disrupted so many lives and thought nothing of it. If you dont like it you can leave. that was there phylosophy.
What motivation does this give people to give of there best?

8th Apr 2002, 10:12
The Germans gave the Leader idea a bit of a run. It translates as "Fuhrer", nicht wahr?

I've always thought that says a lot about the difference between the Germans and the Brits. If someone marched in, stuck his arm up, and announced "Hail to the Leader" a Brit would collapse laughing. It's the same reason that British officers do not wear uniform in the street. Small boys would take the pi55.

No, the Leader thing won't work here. Derision is the correct response, methinks.

8th Apr 2002, 10:26
Lots of 'Indians' posting here eh? Ask to be treated as a number and you'll get your wish. Meanwhile the issue of leadership hasn't been resolved. Those who choose to compartmentalise their lives into 'work' and 'life' aren't following a leader, so their employer probably isn't in the leadership business and isn't worth following; I tend to be in that bracket myself these days. Which isn't to say that I don't recognize leadership when I see it. I've worked for bosses who led and they made working life much more interesting and meaningful. Not to mention lucrative.

Gunner B12, if you believe that an officer can rely solely on the threat of disciplinary action to remain in control then I have to assume that you haven't "got some in" yet. There's plenty of nasty evil minded sergeants like wot I were to take advantage of the suckers. Cranwell, Dartmouth, Sandhurst et al certainly don't succeed in every case, in fact it not even the majority of cases; but they do teach leadership and they do produce results. I do not retract my argument that leaders are not born but are made. ( usually by sergeants :D )

Leaders as opposed to Managers, produce results and create something greater than the sum of the parts. Working for a leader is more likely to advance your prospects and enable you to earn more money to fund your chosen lifestyle than plodding along working for a bunch of wasters. Even if it isn't more lucrative its more fun. There's no law against enjoying the job is there?

Through difficulties to the cinema

8th Apr 2002, 11:38
Good post.

As far as officers are concerned:-

A new subaltern on taking up his first post, is likely to prove a poor leader if he starts off by telling people what he wants done, how things are going to change around here, etc. etc.

On the other hand, he is likely to prove a good leader if he starts off by taking his troop sergeant on one side and saying "Look, I don't have the faintest idea what I'm doing, so I shall rely on you lots to start off with. Look after me, and I'll do my best to look after you."

Tartan Gannet
8th Apr 2002, 12:16
Yes Huggy and others, this has the makings of a good thread.

Now as to the mutual lack of respect between Managers and Workers these days , I will give an example.

Where I work another worker was told by a Section Manager (no better than an old style foreman really), that he would have to move from his own team to work for this man's section. The worker expressed some diffidence, he had not been consulted in any way and was unfamiliar with this type of work. The Section Manager replied, "You are only a commodity, you will work where you are told".

Now this may have been strictly true in accordance with his Contract of Employment but shows the callous disregard for the feelings of this man AS A PERSON. To be considered as no more than another object in the workplace such as, (in the case of my employers), solder, or a 'scope, or resistors, integrated circuits, etc, is indicative of the lack of respect for Human Factors not only found in my employers but Im afraid in British industry in general, whatever the nation which owns it

:( :( :mad:

8th Apr 2002, 13:02
In any group of people there will be three types:

Those who have no idea what to do and wait for someone to tell them
Those who have plenty of ideas what to do but still wait for someone else to tell them to do it and moan continually if they don’t.
Those who have ideas and the drive to start putting them into practice.

The last group are leaders whose ideas may be brilliant or terrible. Good management encourages and trains leaders to put good ideas into practice and to lead those from the other two groups to co-operate with them. Even better management will train some of those from the middle group to be good leaders.

For too long, British industry has not recognised leadership, confusing it with management. Managers without leadership feel threatened by anyone with leadership qualities and the system has evolved to eliminate any sense of leadership within the hierarchy.

I seem to have known many people who show no signs of leadership at work but, in their social life, become successful, proactive organisers of clubs and charities.

Perhaps, TG, your company is recognising this distinction for the first time. The biggest problem for any leadership is getting other people to share in the idea or vision, particularly in the face of justifiable cynicism. Sometimes they just have to forge ahead believing that, eventually, the masses will get the idea.

Maybe you should give them a chance. On the other hand………..


8th Apr 2002, 14:07

An example of the modern view of leadership is seen in those who put together the concept of Astraeus, the new airline.

8th Apr 2002, 15:40
Some excellent posts here. In general I agree with most of what is being said, and to add my tuppen'orth (again :D ) it would seem that the problem with the managers in TGs company (as in many others) is that they are (as usual?) implementing change for changes sake.

What seems to be coming over loud and clear is that not every manager is a good leader, in exactly the same way that not every leader is a good manager.

By definition, businesses have to be managed, but they do not HAVE to be led. Conversely, those businesses that are properly led ought to be more likely to succeed due to better employee satisfaction and therefoer productivity. Unfortunately, as in TGs case, the management think that leadership is synonymous with management, when, as several previous posts have pointed out, it can only be 'given' by those who follow, in much the same way as respect, and must therefore be earned.

8th Apr 2002, 17:01
Pulse1, you've been reading those management philosiphy books again haven't you.:p

Gunner B12
9th Apr 2002, 01:51
I got this from the West Australian newspaper and I think it echoe's a lot of what we are saying here. Especially the bit in bold.

COMPANIES will one day have to pay people for the time they keep them on hold, futurist Jonar Nader predicted yesterday.

"It is an abuse of my time and yours," he said.

Mr Nader also forecast that customers would start recording their phone conversations with companies and posting them on Web sites so everyone could hear the nonsense.

"Companies sell people rubbish, make false promises, send them home and hardly any of them complain because they can't be bothered getting on the phone," he told the Urban Development Industry Association congress at Burswood Convention Centre.

His other predictions included a ban on asterisks and accompanying fine print in advertising and free washing machines.

He said companies would give away washing machines and charge per cycle so if they broke down, the company would be the one losing money.

It already happened with mobile phones which were given away with customers charged for use, he said.

He challenged delegates at the conference to look at any areas of poor performance now, to beat their competitors later.

"I bet (that) if you do, you'll have a more prosperous future because there will come a day when this abuse will have to stop," he said.

Mr Nader defined a futurist as someone who developed likely scenarios based on history, politics, culture and taboos in a bid to pre-empt what was going to happen and prepare for it.

He said companies should stop treating their staff as if they owned them and make the work environment so luscious, delicious and easy-going that people enjoyed being at work.

9th Apr 2002, 02:49
Yeh TG I agree with you 100%. I wince when I read in the papers "Worlds leaders met today......." Ha! World leaders my @rse! They are just bloodey chickensh!t politicians and thats all. Im in the aviation racket, THEY are in politics racket. Its a job and nothing else. If a politician happens to be a real leader than thats just a bonus.

The word "leader" is bandied about so much by vested interests so as to blur any idiot at the top as one.

Heres a few noteable quotes:

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. - John Maxwell

You do not lead people by hitting them over the head. Thats assault, not leadership. - Eisenhower

He that would govern first should be master of himself - Phil Masinger

Leaders produce consent, others seek consensus - unknown

He that cannot obey, cannot command - unknown

Leaders dont manage people, they manage things. Leaders LEAD people. - unknown

I believe THAT cancels out any politician alive today as being REAL leaders. :rolleyes:

9th Apr 2002, 03:05
I don't mean this to be political, so no political responses please.

A man in the street in Jerusalem was asked by a TV reporter about the Arab Leaders Summit. He responded that they weren't his leaders or anyone elses; in fact he called them 'garbage'

This was a very profound statement, revealing as it does the very roots of the concept of leadership. In order to be a leader you must have followers. Managers merely require resources [human or otherwise] in order to manage or give the impression of managing.

Through difficulties to the cinema

9th Apr 2002, 08:39
As a slight diversion, what do you lot think of "management tools"?

My personal experience makes me very wary of these flavour-of-the-month experiences that my management (had a leader once; he didn't last) delights in force feeding me.

In our company there is one position in the FA corps that no one wants.
It's extremely hard work, it gives little time off compared to long haul and you never get outside of geographical Europe. Work times are artrocious, daily allowances almost non-existent, your social life is reduced to sub zero standards. Sick rate in this group is the highest in the company.
You guessed it; my current job! :D

For twenty years now, the company has had difficulties getting people to apply for the job of Purser Short Haul. Despite the fact that this step is manadatory on the career path to Purser Long Haul, qualified people prefer to get stuck low on the ladder, in the postion of Assistant Purser, instead of subjecting themselves to at least 3 years of company sponsored total misery.

The result is that every summer season crisis breaks out.
We get begging letters, half threatening, half cajoling us to come and work full-time to save the company's a*se.

The above situation could be rectified by some lateral thinking and reorganization of the corps-structure.
This does NOT happen.

Instead, the company organizes the weirdest seances to motivate the ragged group of individs who suffer through life on the short lane.
Latest in this mystifying ritual is a seance with the head of cabin crew. We are assembled in a large auditorium where his Master's Voice regales us with stories of how wonderful we all are. We are then whipped up into a frenzy of self congratulatory happiness. We are expected to applaude enthusiastically for ourselves. :rolleyes:
After some tea & biccies we are kicked back onto the line and expected to work our butts off under unchanged circumstance.

I have been subjected over the years to Coaching as Management Style, Effective Leadership in 3 short steps, Focus on Your Strength, Clap Together ( I kid u not!) Maslov in Motion and many many more.....................
To subject us to this unbelievable cr*p costs a lot of money and time.

At the same time, absolutely nothing has been done to tackle the root of the problem.

Managers come and depart again for higher paying jobs. The cycle repeats itself again and again.
While nothing fundamentally changes.

How can this be?

Gunner B12
9th Apr 2002, 08:55
The large corporation that I work for has this concept that it's team "leaders" don't need to know anything about the business.

I was sent on a development assessment course and part of the course consisted of putting you in situations in different industries and expecting you to deal with them competently. I questioned this and was told that a team leader should be able to lead anywhere.

Now whilst the concept is a good one in that a true leader should be able to handle any situation it is very hard to lead people when you don't know the direction you are supposed to be going in. This of course is managements way of controlling the team "leaders" because if they knew the business (god forbid) they might just actually make decisions and that is managements job. of course this has the sad side effect that the staff have no confidence in the team "leaders" and so are disgruntled.

I truly think they have got things all the wrong way round. The role they call team "leader" is really just a manager and his role really is to facilitate the staff doing their jobs. Unfortunately, probably because of the confusion in the titles and roles, they think that their job is to control the staff, usually with a heavy hand.

:mad: :mad: :mad:

9th Apr 2002, 09:00
Well said, flaps.

Management is about people.

Companies are about people.

Any company/manager that does not recognise that (and I mean (REALLY recognise it and act on it, not just say so) will lead to the sort of cr4p you mention.

I spent nearly 15 years in medicine and pharmaceuticals and its the same - large conglomerates who repeat ad nauseum that their business is "people", but refuse to consider their employment conditions, the effect of management decisions on the workforce and that different people are motivated by different things - not everyone wants pots of money, and not everyone will respond well to "yeehaw-type" conferences. Some people just want a "thank you", others might prefer an extra week off or maybe a 4 day week.

Now that I work for myself, I am lucky enough to be able to do what I want, when I want, and I intend to make sure that I NEVER take anyone who works for me for granted or forget that I rely on THEM.

Tartan Gannet
9th Apr 2002, 09:07
The one theme which seems to pevade this discussion is the difference between Leading and Commanding. I would say, for example, that Churchill led but Hitler commanded, (having a very powerful Police State apparatus behind him to ensure compliance).

One other aspect is mutual respect. The respect of the worker for a good and decent boss and that of the boss for his workers. Im afraid that this seems to be a vanishing item these days. Bosses use fear to obtain their aims, the fear of the dole queue or resort to hectoring and bullying tactics in the workplace, humiliate their workers or interfere with and pry into the private NON WORK time of their employees by phoning them at home, even when they are NOT on call employees, demanding to know WHY they wish to take part of their holiday leave off, making difficult rules in regards to booking a holiday, (one place I used to work demanded a week's notice for a days holiday, fair enough, but THREE MONTHS notice for a mere week of leave!) This by the way was a workshop where other techicians could cover for an absent colleague. They also did not pay sick pay, (except the paltry Statutory Sick Pay they had to pay by Law), until the employee had worked there for a whole year! Needless to say I spent most of my personal time there looking for another job and left as soon as one came up, loyalty to that employer extended to no more than the last pay cheque! Alas, my present employers are resorting to similar tactics and I can see me moving on again in the not too distant future.

Its a pity that the experience of years of service and the stability and continuity this produces in the workplace has been sacrificed for the quick fix, with "instant whip" managers overseeing, (and I mean that word in its Old Testament sense), disgruntled employees of low morale and high turnover. Instead of low shop floor morale being properly addressed and rectified, bread and circus solutions are applied by patronising measures and such "group hug" activities, no doubt lifted from "Harvard" type gurus, such as Company Barbecues, Xmas Parties etc, held in the employees private leisure time and unwanted and unattended by all but the company sycophants who see such "lion hunting" as means to advancement.

I have no wish to be party political and that would in any event contravene Danny's rules, but I know the woman I blame for imbalancing the workplace so heavily against the working man.

:( :( :mad: :mad:

Gunner B12
9th Apr 2002, 09:23

Didn't see your post while typing my last response. We had a 5 day course once on positive mental attitude and the likes. The idea was to get us focussed on achieving our goals in life. It was so good it motivated a number of people right out of the company.

I won't go into the company that produced it or the figurehead that presented it but personally I found it to be a joke. We had an American CEO at the time and this was an American course, it must have cost a fortune. What's more, everybody in the company was put through it.

I'm afraid I wasn't held in too much regard by the "facilitator" as it was presented in video format with a session after each video where they went round the table asking each persons reaction. Now whilst the second video was running I asked the "facilitator" if I could just sit through it and not participate, I was told no and that I didn't have to be there if I didn't want to be. I pointed out that my management had told me I did and smug as ever she pointed out that I chose to work for them. Well from then on I participated and she came to regret not letting me stay quiet. I believe in subsequent courses I was quoted as an example of how not to react. Ironically before the course I was probably the most positive employee they had.

The thing is the management didn't change one of their practices but expected the staff to change overnight.

It didn't happen.

Gunner B12
9th Apr 2002, 09:33

My employers brought in an annual review system coupled with quarterly follow ups. In the review they even ask us to list our goals outside work. When I queried the desire for this information I was told it was so they could take them into account in deciding such matters as rostering.

I politely told them that my desires and goals outside work were my business and that I sold them my time not my soul. I don't think they consider me a "team player" anymore.

:( :( :(

9th Apr 2002, 12:28
Each man's duty is the King, but every man's soul is his own!

Henry V by William Shakespear (forget which act!:rolleyes: )

Humdinga of a thread - keep 'em coming all!!

9th Apr 2002, 13:34
Agreed. Excellent thread. In keeping with my philosophy of not offering an opinion unless it adds something to the debate, I shall stay out of it, but I'm enjoying all the posts, and as is only too rare in threads these days, I'm learning all the time.

TG, once again, I'm basically on your side. Just don't fall into the insularity trap by thinking that all the problems you've mentioned are peculiar to the UK. It ain't party politics, it's greed, and that's universal.

Tartan Gannet
10th Apr 2002, 00:48
Gunner B12 and Binos, too true. Its not just UK and US companies which practice this utter crap. The Japs are even more to blame! Take their "5 S" concept as an example, utter bullsh*t!

As regards employer interference in an employee's personal time, this to me is a sin crying out to Heaven for Vengence. I am paid for 37.5 hours a week Monday to Friday and that's it. What I do in my spare time, (Unless I was working for a competator) is MY business and mine alone. Now my employers have recently brought in another annoying and insulting idea. I work shifts, weekly alternating early and late. Now to change shift we used to only give our supervisor a week's notice. Now Management require us to fill out a form. No problem with that, its good administration. But here comes the stinker, on the form there is a box marked "REASON". Now I bitterly resent this as do others. What bloody business is it of theirs? If I do my 7.5 hours as an early rather than a late to allow me to attend some personal activity in the evening then that is my business alone. I feel like putting something outrageous such as "going round your house and shagging your missus while you are at work" or "putting laxatives in the bottled water at a Management Training Seminar" Instead I shall simply put "Personal and Private reasons" but I am hopping mad at such an intrusion into my personal life.

When will employers realise that many of us workers want to be left in peace after our week's work and are only interested in them and their business and its products or services as a means to earn a wage?

10th Apr 2002, 01:29
Gunner...geez you really have got the hump haven't you and your frequent postings show it.

I am in total aggreement with you though, bin there seen it at done that blah blah. Total sympathy!

I've seen supervisors change to team leaders.

Positions created for those who should have gone up the ranks but because of their lowley origins couldn't be seen to be doing so (long suffering supervisors became 'area managers').

Young whipper snapper managers on a carreer path making sweeping changes, which for the short term appear good but long term are detrimental, in an effort to further their carreer. Then get the promotion they sought without having to deal with the concequences later.

Then you have the managers who try to do the sensible thing, get his guys on side, avoid as much as possible controversy, and generaly do a good job, unfortunately these guys seem to do the old carreer side step move, get promoted 'out of the way' or occassionaly get binned.

I've done the motivational courses, the team building courses the safety courses etc etc..

One thing that I learned in only 8 years at this company, nothing really changes. Conditions may get erroded but are often replaced with other benefits and what are you gonna do anyway. It's the same the world over. My theory is 'head down, arse up' grap the over time if convenient and take their money.

Sh*t may well roll down hill, but there are more of us at the bottom and it is spread more thinly.

Gunner B12
10th Apr 2002, 02:14

Actually no I haven't got the hump. One of the questions I rasied at the motivational course I discussed earlier which they couldn't answer was. I've got what I want, I'm happy, I contribute what the company want's and I do it well. Why should I be here?

This is purely a discussion on a topic that interests me. Have you ever read "The empty raincoat" by Charles handy or "Flight of the buffalo" by James Belasco and Ralph C. Stayer. Really interesting stuff if you are interested in this type of subject.

One advance I've seen recently though is, where I work we no longer have to put a reason down when submitting a sick leave form. I always thought that that is a major intrusion into my private life. I think the privacy laws here in Oz were responsible for that. Mind you during the days when we did have to put a reason I was always tempted to put something stupid down like for example Leprosy, just to see what they would do.

:D :D :D

10th Apr 2002, 03:12
Ooopps sorry Gunner, appologies for inferring that. I sympathise with your posts but perhaps view these scenarios with more scinicism. I still continue to agree with you for the most part except perhaps the old sickie form thing (but circumstances are different co.to co.) I was fortunate in as far as in my co. sick forms were sent directly to our medical dept run by regular nurses and practicing GP's and we were afforded the same confidentiality you would expect with any other GP (alledgedly), but as my mother worked as a nurse for a similar co. I tended to believe these records remaind private exept in cases where it may directly affect your job and then advise would only be given. We could also take 'personal' days off providing we didn't take the p1ss no form required.
For these reasons I was always honest on sick forms but I do understand how having to tell you supervisor/manager your illness is an unnecessary intrusion into your private life .
I may well read those books you suggest one day but at the moment I have lost all interest in management philosphy as in the UK many companys seem to say one thing then do another, managers may well attempt to appear caring and sharing, progressive and forward thinking but when it comes to the crunch dictatorial management is the order of the day.

Gunner B12
10th Apr 2002, 03:33
I don't know why management are so two faced and dictatorial. I had my own business back in the UK for several years and I always had an arrangement with the guys that worked for me. If they were going to do a "foreigner" (job for cash) they were welcome to the materials as long as it was within reason and I was told. My stock control was perfect the guys seldom did this type of side line and everyone was happy. The thing was if I didn't allow it I stood as much risk of getting ripped off for the materials so by allowing it I showed trust at the same time as making it controlable.

When I moved to Oz (lifestyle change after birth of son) I sought employment as I didn't have the network to start up on my own (subcontract work). So having been the management I am now the worker and it makes it akward for my management because, as the saying goes, been there, done that. I accept that I will never climb the ladder in this company probably for that reason.

but like I said before, I'm happy and where I want to be. Even having my own business in the UK I couldn't have afforded the big house with swimming pool and ocean views that I have here as a mere worker.

10th Apr 2002, 06:08
Consider these two quotations; real words spoken by real people working in a company that boasts: "...Number one is respect for people. Its a central goal in our company..." :

1. “At present we are taking a close look at the core processes in our company. That’s a simple necessity in today’s competitive environment. But if it leads to job cuts, we do our utmost to find new jobs for each person we have to let go. And for that very reason we can honestly say that the spirit of cooperation between management and employees is very positive.”

2. “Today we live in a culture of cooperation. Managers and employees take courses in conflict management – together. Both groups acknowledge that change is essential to development and change is what we learn from and with one another. And the next change is when we become a culture of values.”

Quotation No. 1 unsurprisingly, comes from the Human Resources Director; quotation No. 2 however, is a shop steward!

The purpose of the management techniques emerging from Harvard and other business schools is the psychological manipulation of the work force. Some such as TG, resist the techniques, others - like the shop steward quoted here - take it all aboard. Now I'm not against a bit of razzamataz to drum up team spirit, provide encouragement and a feeling of well-being in the work place, but I am uncomfortable when psychological manipulation is used for exploitation. The shop steward no doubt believes that the best interests of his fellow workers lie in cooperating with management when they wish to "downsize" in "todays competitive environment" (presumably competition was unimportnat in earlier environments) And perhaps it IS in the best interests of those who keep their jobs.

But does it occur to him as it might to some of us, that management might not have considered ALL the options? The not-so-easy ones like selling more and directly competing in the market for example? Or switching out of unprofitable lines to more profitable ones and retraining existing workers?

Through difficulties to the cinema

10th Apr 2002, 06:50
TG You say

“Instead of low shop floor morale being properly addressed and rectified, bread and circus solutions are applied by patronising measures and such "group hug" activities, no doubt lifted from "Harvard" type gurus, such as Company Barbecues, Xmas Parties etc”

You will find most of the “group hug” activities come not from places like Harvard but for the little boys and girls with no experience of the workplace setting themselves up as management consultants, vying with each other to sell more and more outlandish ideas on motivation, leadership etc to more and more suckers in management, who often get there, not through technical competence but through networking or brown nosing as many of us term it.

Gunner B You say

“Actually no I haven't got the hump. One of the questions I raised at the motivational course I discussed earlier which they couldn't answer was. I've got what I want, I'm happy, I contribute what the company want's and I do it well. Why should I be here?”

Well Gunner B your assessment of the course and its facilitator are correct. The answer surely should have been “Gunner B you are here to show the others what a motivated person you are. Now get off to the pub for the rest of the course”

Somewhat concerned You say

“Young whipper snapper managers on a career path making sweeping changes, which for the short term appear good but long term are detrimental, in an effort to further their career. Then get the promotion they sought without having to deal with the consequences later”.

So true. There is startling evidence of the lengths people will go to network and sell themselves. This is at the detriment of the job. Again, we know that the competent manager often lose out in the promotion stakes to the networker who studies show can spend up to half their time networking.

Blacksheep You say

“The purpose of the management techniques emerging from Harvard and other business schools is the psychological manipulation of the work force”

This really is nonsense. The Americans at least try to get managers to manage and leaders to lead and provide copious examples of success stories and what lessons we might learn from them. Recently both Harvard and Wharton Business schools have been stressing the importance of empathy in the workplace (they call it emotional intelligence as consultants can sell EI courses (sounds impressive) for more bucks that empathy courses).

At least they are trying to make the workplace a happier place to be in.

Gunner B12
10th Apr 2002, 07:44

I believe you have touched on the root of the problem. They are trying to make the workplace a happier place to be in. but in doing so have forgotten about the traditional sources of that happiness.

Job satisfaction, security, respect to name but a few are long gone from the shopfloor/office at least from the workforce point of view. Management are trying to empathise when they should be instilling pride and stability.

The company I work for makes obscene profits yet constantly tries to downsize the workforce. Now that we have got to the point that the business would collapse if more went, they are starting to sell off buildings they own and lease them back. It is claimed this is because with their age they are becoming increasingly more expensive to maintain. This thinly disguised assett stripping merely prolongs the inflated salary they recieve and does nothing for the future of the company.

The CEO recently said, at a staff presentation, that headcount was no longer an issue and that no more jobs were to go. At that time I was working on the rationalisation of the section I work in to enable it's sale. As they say down here Go figure? For me this is fine as change brings opportunity but most of the staff won't end up with the new owner and I'm sure when it is realised that we have the staff but not the work they will admit to the need for more downsizing of the workforce.

I personally have the philosophy that I will always be able to get work, even if I have to go out and get it for myself. But a lot of people are not so inclined and need the stability of a secure rewarding job.

:( :( :(

Tartan Gannet
10th Apr 2002, 09:49
Im glad I started this thread. At first I though it was just me, disgruntled, cynical, a bit thin skinned perhaps and extremely jealous of my personal time and privacy. I am relieved and gratified to find so many others who have similar experiences and attitudes.

All that is mentioned by others here I have suffered at the hands of Management. The "Big Idea" which instead of assisting the company to achieve its objectives becomes a meaningless and repetative ritual carried out for its own sake and which wastes time and resources. Silly titles and jargon, being summonsed to meetings, "Focus Groups" and "Briefings", which take one away from the workbench when providing a few sheets of A4 with the requisite charts and text, or a global e-mail to all employees with said attachments, would achieve as much. When I started with my current employers I was summonsed to attend one of these with other operatives. The questions I asked were not answered but responded to by spin and obfuscation and as far as I am aware the suggestions made by the workforce members there were never taken up.

One has to ask the question, why does one work at all? I would contend that for the majority of people its is simply out of economic necessity, you need a wage to live off of, most of us NOT being fortunate enough to have an inheritance or independent means. I have never subscribed to the "work for works sake" ethos, the Protestant Work Ethic if you prefer, that of itself work is a reward separate from the financial recompense for doing so. Now I acknowledge that in the Professions and Vocations this may be the case. A Barrister may get great satisfaction from building up and winning his cases, a Doctor from restoring a sick patient to health, an Architect from designing a beautiful and well acclaimed edifice, perfect in its parts and honourable to the builder. All of these people gain something over and above the substantial financial reward for doing their job. Alas this is NOT so often the case for those of us lower down the scale. Sure, if I discover and rectify a difficult fault in a piece of electronic equipment I DO derive some pleasure from doing so. What was in effect an inoperative piece of junk is now a fully functional and useful apparatus. However the prime cause of my being there is not to get a buzz from doing so, I could repair and recondition secondhand TV sets at home and get far more pleasure. It is first and foremost to earn enough money each month to provide for the essentials of life, Mortgage, Food, Clothing, etc and some extra pleasures as well, in my PRIVATE AND PERSONAL LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK AND WORK HOURS! A similar attitude exists with the majority of my ordinary co-workers. We give of our best when at work but have no further interest in it once away from the workshop and wish to be left to enjoy the fruits of our labours, (our wages), without let or hindrance by our Employers in our own time. When will Management get this simple but fundamental principle into their thick skulls?

Yes I am very fed up in my current job, not with the money, its good, nor the nature of the work, interesting, nor the pressure of work, nothing I cannot cope with. It is the increasingly overbearing attitude of Management and their seeking to encroach on my personal life, (and that of my co-workers) and out of work time in various ways. As an example they recently presented the workforce with a "suggestion" of a new shift pattern which would have meant for the first time in our establishment that Saturdays and Sundays and for that matter Bank Holdiays would have become rostered days if on that shift and only 9 complete weekends would be left each year for the employee to enjoy, the financial compensation for this being paltry to say the least and those who currently work weekend overtime on a voluntary basis, (I dont), would thus be heavily out of pocket. This met with a resounding raspberry from almost all of the workforce in words I cannot type here to say the least! Now Management were genuinely taken aback by the intensity and ferocity of the workforce rejection of their proposals, and have had to go away to think again. The high handed and uncaring manner in which this was handled has polarised the workforce from the Management where previously there was a general spirit of cooperation, and totally destroyed workforce morale. Many intend to leave if these proposals or anything like them are introduced. Thus the company, instead of becoming more efficient, will lose experienced staff and their skills and fall behind competators in the short to medium term at least. The Prime Cause of this is the boneheaded and stiff-necked attitude of Management in failing to comprehend that the majority of the Workforce have a life outside of the workplace , family, leisure activities, sports and other recreations, most of which take place at weekends and which they either consider sacrosanct, (my stance on this, I simply will NOT work at weekends), or who would require a far more substantial monetary reward for giving up what is considered by most to be their time of rest and recreation.

So, here is a worked example of the failings of Management and all the jargon, role playing, silly games, or activities such as "Outward Bound Courses" wont cure it. Is it too much to ask that we return to tried and tested methods of Managers with down to earth titles who manage, their subordinates such as supervisors and foremen who implement and facilitate their decisions at shop floor level, and operatives who do their work during the hours they are paid for, with mutual respect and dignity in all these classes and where an Englishman's leisure and non working time, like his home, are considered to be his castle?

10th Apr 2002, 10:03
Reading Gunner's post it is, as I said slj, pure psychological manipulation. The objective is to keep the employees who retain their jobs satisfied and 'motivated' Those who are retrenched don't count. The latest trendy business method is to continually increase productivity and 'effectiveness' - although no satisfactory definition of either has yet been made. TG clearly isn't susceptible to manipulation but there again his employers seem to be particularly inept in application.

One definition of Productivity (and there are many) may be a ratio of output to input. Under this definition, the greater the value of the output compared to the cost of the inputs, the greater is productivity. Ultimately, if the ownership of the assets employed in production is eliminated - all fixed assets being leased or rented - the return on capital employed rises enormously. The employees and their skills and knowledge become the organization's only real asset, the main input factor to be manipulated as necessary. But this is only from the viewpoint of a certain type of manager. The theoretical owners of the business, its shareholders, might be concerned to see that a high share price reflecting the apparently high productivity was not reflected in the book value for the company. They would be drawing their dividend income from continuing production and a promise of more of the same in the future - a high risk investment strategy. Assuming 'more of the same' is notoriously dangerous and most practitioners will go out of business when there is a downturn. So, it remains essential to keep the employees 'motivated' and psychological methods of control are easier to apply than leadership.

Lean and Mean companies - trying to make money from nothing - is simply the latest Business school fad, and all the motivational hoopla needed to keep them running is mere dressing. If we ever succeed in getting a working definition of organizational effectiveness, such 'Lean and Mean' companies, lacking reserves and spare capacity as they do, are unlikely to be at the top of the effectiveness tables.

Through difficulties to the cinema

10th Apr 2002, 14:25
Don't want to waste too much bandwidth - just to say that I totally endorse Mr TG's excellent last post!!!!!!!


10th Apr 2002, 16:59
Earlier in this thread I was accused of having read a book on management. Let me say I cannot remember ever having actually read a management book but, like most of you, I have been on the occasional sawn off management course. Most of these simulated the proverbial curates egg.

However, I do vividly remember going to a lecture on leadership which was nothing to do with work, but what I learned has helped my own pathetic struggle to be a good manager. It was actually given by an Anglican vicar and was outstanding.

He gave an illustration which many of you may have heard before, originally given by a famous German general (I’ve forgotten who):

“When choosing leaders, you will have intelligent people and stupid people. You will have industrious people and lazy people. If you choose industrious, intelligent leaders, they will do well. Lazy, intelligent leaders will go to the very top. Lazy, stupid people will do alright. Avoid industrious, stupid people like the plague ”.

One of the problems with modern industry is that the system has allowed too many industrious stupid people to succeed. Give them a computer, spread sheet and a business plan and you have a recipe for disaster. Underscore it with the City in the form of banks or shareholders and you are doomed. The monthly targets on the business plan become the god, leading to extremely short term decisions and self destruction. As an illustration, I have seen a production manager manufacture a whole month’s supply of transistors with no chips in them. He had met his target, it was an engineering problem that they didn’t work. Of course he lost his job but no-one stopped to think about other less obvious manifestations of the same problem which might be adding cost to the business.

I now work for a privately owned, foreign company which, up to now, has not had to justify its performance to shareholders or bank managers. The difference is amazing and the responsibility to operate a profitable business can be shared right through the workforce. This sometimes means that some of them, who hate working weekends like TG, will volunteer because they see the need. Because they don’t feel they are doing it just to make the numbers right on the spreadsheet, they actually seem to get some job satisfaction out of “doing their bit”. The management responsibility is not to abuse that.

I just thought I would say something more positive as all this moaning is getting me down.

Tartan Gannet
11th Apr 2002, 01:04
Well folks, I have taken the Omega Solution and have put in my notice. This is couched in polite terms but leaves absolutely no room for negotiation so I leave work on Friday 3rd May and live for a few months on my inheritance then do a bit of agency work for a while and see how lies the land. (Anyone want a Masonic Electronics Technician ?????).

So Im afraid that I have been a total failure to my Management and their silly games, I have in effect and with great politeness told them to ram their job up their ar*e!

I hope I can, in due time, from 1st Sept 2002, find a job which simply wants me to work 37.5 hours or so Monday to Friday and demands no more than that. No silly slogans and " Big Ideas", no rehashed Japanese manangement crap. Have talent, will travel, but keep your nose out of my private non work time!

My Lord, do I feel a hell of a lot better for quitting. Its like having a lead weight struck from about my shoulders. I remember in Pilgrims Progress the illustration "Christian comes to the Cross and is relieved of his sins" I now know the feeling!

Good luck folks, and to all MBA's out there, May the toilets be closed for maintenance when you have an attack of diarrhea!


Gunner B12
11th Apr 2002, 01:50


Did I contribute to that decision? hope not !

Good luck in finding gainful employment.

Anyway on with the thread.


I believe the company you work for is the type of environment most would want to be in. I think that even TG would be willing to work the odd weekend if the company he worked for was like the one you described. I have always had that kind of work ethic and have for quite some time worked days I don't really have to and being on a fixed salary I don't get paid for the extra effort.

However on the way to work this morning I gave a lift to a neighbor who just happens to work for a different division of the same company as me. He was going on about a change that has just been instigated in his area which is a national rostering system. The idea is efficient and makes sure the company always has the resources required at any given time.

The only problem is they have forgotten they are dealing with human beings. Holidays have to be booked much further in advance, during school holidays local managers used to allow the % off to exceed the norm, this has stopped and you used to be able to move your day off (9 day fortnight) but not any longer.

The result efficiency has fallen as more sick days are taken and productivity has gone down due to resentment. One guy apparently reused a free Flu jab citing the grounds that if he caught the flu it was legitimate reason not to be there and still get paid!

It really is getting bad when people would choose to risk illness for the reward of being away from work.

:( :( :(

11th Apr 2002, 08:37
TG, the aggro of your job obviously outdid the benefits you derived from it. You can afford to leave this company so it looks like a very sound (and pretty gutsy!) decision.
Good luck!

Earlier on in the thread you wondered about "the lottery decision".
If I would win big money, I'd still want to keep my job. :D
It is a great source of satisfaction, all the more so since I have becone a Purser and can in a big way influence what happens in the cabin.
I go to work happy, usually come home knackered. Sometimes :mad: , sometimes :( , but usually very pleased.
It is the nature of the job itself which gives me satisfaction. I enjoy pitting my wits against the continuous f*ck-ups the system throws at me. It gives me a kick to turn a planeload of grumpy/indifferent pax into a group of relaxed and smiling individuals. Who will hopefully choose our mob again next time they fly so the company can afford my salary.

I enjoy trying to coach the young FA's I work with. Trying to make them experience that working hard can be fun. That by using your sense of humour, your brain and your heart, you not only give the pax a "good trip", you also come away a better person yourself.
We often work like mules in a coal mine, the challenge is to see the fun than can be had by solving problems and making people happy.
I try to set an example and I try to give them as much freedom of decision as possible. The only rigid rules I enforce are the safety ones; everything else can be adapted.

Trying to keep relations with the pilots pleasant and workable is another goal. They think differently, they work differently, they prioritise differently. To bridge that gap under stressful conditions is it's own reward. To make sure that the locked cockpit door does not allow management to drive a wedge between cockpit and cabin crew is also a worthwhile goal.

Our FA's like working with people, they are a gregarious bunch. They're not in it for the money since start up salary is cr*p. On short haul there is also a marked absence of glamour. ;)
These young men & wimin want to be nice to people!

My biggest problem at work is that the myriad inane management decisions, the incredible rigidity of the company structure and the endless bureaucracy all band together to make sure the least amount of fun is had by the largest amount of people.

So I make my own fun; for the pax, the pilots and the FA's. :D

Management rewards me by making sure that I am not able to spend a single holiday with my family this year. (anyone knows of a nice spot for a Dad and 2 teenagers to spend their summer hols this year?).
Management rewards me by denying my requests to be off on my kid's birthdays as well.

But TG, my point with all this is that I do not work for management, nor for the shareholders.
It isn't the money either; I pay US $ 300/GB £ 210 a month in tickets to fly back and forth to work on my company's aircraft. Since I don't live in the country I work in, I also get to pay 43% tax. I have to keep a car in the "work-country" to get back and forth to the airport since the company provides transport only for those work long haul, and public transport doesn't work the same hours I do....

I work because at the end of a long hard day I feel I have used my talents to the max, I feel that I have made the lives of a number of peole a little better and that I can be proud of who I am and what I am.

And as long as management doesn't manage to take that away from me, I'll stay. :D

11th Apr 2002, 10:12
Well! Hasn’t this thread taken a sudden change in direction?


I don’t want to sound like the expert I am not but I am not surprised by your action. I have seen many colleagues and friends who, following bereavement, have taken action to change their lives. This is in no way suggesting that what you have done is wrong. It may turn out to be the best thing you have ever done and I hope that it does.

In whatever you do, I hope that you can learn something from Flap’s excellent post. He seems to be one of those rare people whose sense of purpose and happiness is dependent on themselves and less on others. That, in my view, is an attribute of true leadership – the pursuance of excellence, whatever the job, and whatever the discouragement. I certainly found your post helpful, Flaps.

Peter’s Principle dictates that, one day, Flaps will be promoted until, eventually, he finds himself sitting at a desk with a spreadsheet on his computer and his boss demanding to know if the numbers will match the forecast this month. If not, what is he doing about it. How then, Flaps, do you get the same job satisfaction that you once achieved in the cabin? Well you could re-arrange the cabin crews so that they can achieve more with less. That will make the numbers match, at least for the next month or so and you can go home with a nice feeling of satisfaction at a job well done. The business is doing well. Your spreadsheet tells you so.

And the Cabin Crews? Well, if they worked today like they used to in Flap’s day, this business would be more successful.

If anyone wants an illustration of this working (not) in practice look at the record of Marks & Spencers. The rot set in the early 80’s as their management began to lose sight of what retail business is all about. They waited until disaster hit them before they reacted. This is a classic example of management blindness caused by spending too long looking at spreadsheets.

Is it a coincidence that this problem has grown with the proliferation of personal computers and Excel?

Tartan Gannet
11th Apr 2002, 10:41
Flaps, you are very fortunate as you obviously have a Career, even a Vocation, as a Purser and derive far more from it than the salary you are paid. I wish you well. All I have ever had is a JOB. Sure this one used to have some job satisfaction but that was merely a cherry on the cake, the main reason for my selling my time and talents for 37.5 hours a week was for the salary to enable me to live my LIFE outside of work. While that life was left alone by my employers outside of 7.5 hours Monday to Friday all was well and I was reasonably content in my situation.

Gunner B12, is the Management of your company related to that of my soon to be ex employers? It is the threatened introduction of such a shift system, 4 days on 2 days off rotating which would mean that the worker would only enjoy 9 complete weekends out of 52. This has upset virtually all of the workforce, polarised the company into Workers V Management in an adversarial and confrontational manner similar to a 1960s or 70s Car Factory in the UK, and destroyed esprit de corps and morale. I have voted with my feet, financial circumstances for once allowing me the pleasure of so doing. In 17 days time I am out of there for ever as I NEVER go back to a job I have left. Its a pity as I did enjoy that job until this moronic idea was rolled out.

It is obvious to me that Management had NOT thought one iota about the human factors. As in your example, holidays and shift changes will now be far more difficult to to book, and weekends will, once this system or some variant thereof is implimented, become the exception not the rule. The financial compensation offered was paltry to say the least and those who, unlike myself, voluntarily work weekends for overtime under the present system will suffer a huge loss of income as well as their quality time. Naturally the workforce are incensed by this and many will follow my example by leaving. "Sickies" will increase as you illustrate and all the little cooperations and flexibilities which make the world go round will cease, in effect people will work to rule and such matters as "staying on for half an hour to finish a job" often without claiming any extra pay for it, will be a thing of the past. Once knocking off time is achieved people will down tools and rush out the door.

So at a stroke stiff necked and uncaring Management has destroyed what was a happy and cooperative work atmosphere and I doubt they will ever recover it. With the haemorhage (sp?) of skilled workers productivity will fall as will the quality of work as untrained workers from agencies and off the street (assuming they wish to sign up for such a crap deal), take longer to perform the repairs and perforce to a lower quality to begin with.

All this was unnecessary. The whole methodology of phoney consultation was badly handled from the start, with a proposed rostering system which a fool could have forseen would be grossly unpopular with the majority of the workforce who have familes, hobbies, sports and other LIFE activities at weekends. Alas my soon to be ex Boss, the originator of this change the Service Centre Manager, lives for his job and cannot comprehend that nearly everyone else only works to live!

The prime rule of engineering has been ignored, "If it aint broke dont fix it" and all will suffer, workforce, customers, and eventually management and even the precious shareholders!

What a waste!:( :( :mad: :mad:

Tartan Gannet
11th Apr 2002, 12:12
Pulse I think you have made a couple of mistakes. Correct me if Im wrong but I think Flaps Forty is FEMALE. (Flaps please confirm your gender)

Secondly, I think you have tripped over one of your psychology books. The death of my mother 10 months ago yesterday did affect me of course. Sadness and regret countered by the relief of seeing this great spirit released from the ravages of Alzheimer's and I hope at peace. After the funeral etc I returned to work and until 11th Sept all went well, just the usual day to day matters of workaday activities. Post 11th Sept there was a big scare of lay offs and downsizing which proved to be groundless for our UK depot unlike those in the USA which did shed workers. From 1st Jan till 19th March all was going well, the shelves were full of work, people were happy and morale was on the up again then a bloody idiot pissed in the pool with an ill conceived and badly presented plan to bring about 7 day working without giving any consideration to the PEOPLE who's lives such changes would adversely affect.

So if you have to have any psychobabble in my case try anger, resentment, contempt, disdain, a total loss of trust and faith in the Management of my soon to be ex employers. To try to look for deeper meanings is to my mind a futile exercise.

Once I obtain new employment post Sept 1st 2002 and my well earned and deserved break, I hope I will find a job where all that is asked of me is to give 37.5 to 40 hours Monday to Friday, perferably NOT shift work, (Ive had enough of early morning starts), and which will respect that I have a LIFE outside work and not stick their big noses into that life at weekends and the evenings. In return they will get ,though I say so myself, a hard working, zealous, dilligent, operative, with a first class record for timekeeping, attendance, quality of workmanship and who gets on well with his co-workers and who will give value for money in the 37.5 or so hours for which he is paid. Sounds like a fair deal for any boss in my reckoning!

11th Apr 2002, 14:21
Ballsy decision TG!!!!!! :cool: Hope it works out!

Never had the nerve to do that meself.... :eek:

These sites may be of assistance:

GoJobsite (http://www.gojobsite.co.uk)

Monster (http://www.monster.co.uk)

Try Google (http://www.google.com) to find more Engineers jobsites.

BTW, having met her, I can say that FlapsForty is definetley female!!! :cool:

11th Apr 2002, 14:48
Someone once described my last job as a 'fur lined rut' and over time I grew to agree with it.

Pay was good, the work quite enjoyable and the conditions weren't too bad. Despite all that it didn't out way the dictatorial management and ever changing goal posts.

For many it was easier to stay than go hence fur lined rut but the longer people stayed the more jaded and scinical they became and I didn't want to end up like that.

Something else that stuck in most peoples throats were the ever changing 'Vision/Mission' statements, what a load of old twaddle they are. They may well impress the share holders and those on the outside looking in but they are just another example of modern managerial BS.

My company even went to the lengths of having one such statement engraved onto a brass plaque but after 6 months or so it dissapeared as it was obvious that they were unable or unwilling to keep this 'promise'.

We found it in the skip and hung it in the workshop just to remind people of the lies. It never failed to amuse:D Needless to say these statements were never pubicised in that way again.

11th Apr 2002, 16:33
My apologies to Flaps but I hope that no-one is suggesting that Peter's Principle doesn't apply to women, or that women don't get promoted. I don't see how it is relevant to my point.

Once again I am accused of reading books. this time on phsychobabble. I leave all that to Mrs P. I just read flying books and magazines (see thread on Women & Aeroplanes). After forty years of working in a variety of industries, however, you can't help learning something about human behaviour within that limited context. I never stop being surprised though.

Tartan Gannet
12th Apr 2002, 08:27
Thanks all for the interesting replies, even those such as Pulse 1, with which I do not tend to agree. I am however disappointed that a real BOSS hasnt replied, an MD, or Senior Line Manager perhaps, putting their side of this argument. (Please NOT some HR Wonk, I mean a REAL Manager).

Now as has been said I have swung the thread a bit, originator's privilege I suppose, so lets get back to the original question.

I still contend that there has to be a degree of Leadership in the person in question. If so this may be developed and augmented but if it aint there, I doubt if it can be taught.

As I have said I just aint no Leader. Im a pretty good administrator. Give me the plan and the resources and, as long as it is not fundamentally in conflict with my own values, beliefs etc, Ill give my best endeavours to implement it for you, but dont look to me for any ground breaking initiatives. Adjutant, maybe, CIC never.

Gunner B12
12th Apr 2002, 15:01

I must admit I am in such a fortunate position. I know where they are coming from and either ignore them or play them at thier own game. My division has been sold off but I have it in writing, there will be no redundancies. I was told by my "leader" to keep myself busy and having unlimitd internet access have been able to do just that. However my own work ethic found me bending over backwards to help the new purchaser who's staff quite frankly haven't got the faintest and so now I am off interstate for 5 weeks all expenses paid plus generous out of pocket expenses.

Fortunately the money I pocket will go a long way to making up for the extra lessons I need to get my PPL (old dog, new tricks) which I took up because I had the foresight to take on. I say foresight as I live in WA and work in an industry which also serves the mining industry, which of course needs people who can get to remote locations on short notice.

I will work for that reason, I think faster than most of my management.

:p :p :D :D

12th Apr 2002, 16:17
T.G. you wanted to hear from "real bosses" on this subject ... well. I guess that would be me. I'm the manager of a business and, while I'm not a proprietor, I answer to the two directors who are.

I have sole control over every facet of trading, employment, public relations, finances, purchasing ... everything to do with every aspect of keeping this a thriving, growing business. My style of management has the full backing of the owners who understand exactly what I try to achieve.

As far as I am concerned, the term "manager" should be synonymous with the term "leader". Let me explain:- I expect certain standards from my staff as laid out in the operations and procedures manual which I have written. These standards apply no less to myself and are the means by which we all provide uniformity of service to our clients.

My staff members are not provided with, nor do they expect to receive, duty statements. We have one rule for everyone - if you see something that needs doing, then do it. If the floor needs cleaning, we are all capable of seeing that and we are all capable of doing it. I am as likely to make a cuppa for a staff member as they are to make one for me.

Being the decision maker, the manager, does not relieve me of the obligation to carry out any or all of the duties described in the operations and procedures manual but the concept of being a leader requires that I am the first to set the example. Cleaning the floor is not beneath me as a manager any more than it is beneath my staff as employees. Nothing in the manual is specific to them and no distinction is made between between us.

The directors have understood this principle to the point where, if the phone rings while they are on the premises, they will pick it up and deal with the enquiry. They too lead by example.

I have no interest in trendy management styles, current buzzwords, latest gimmicks or anything else. What I care about is the wellbeing of my staff, their attention to their work, my support of them and their support of me.

We have developed a very effective method of give and take. There is no strict time-keeping for example, if someone needs to go early, they let me know and they leave. When I need someone to stay late, there's no shortage of volunteers. If I have to go in on a day off because someone is sick, that person will be sure to fill in for me another time.

Ideas are listened to and actively encouraged. Some of our best methods of doing things have been ideas from employees which have been set in place as policy and which work very well. When you try to always employ people a little but smarter than yourself, you are ensuring the growth of the business and that is good for everyone.

Ideally, as far as I am concerned, a manager who is a good leader, is a person with enough confidence in themself that "the key to the executive washroom" becomes something you laugh about not strive for. Division, real or imaginary, between staff and management becomes unnecessary because everyone works as a team and everyone is responsible for doing whatever it takes to keep everything running.

There will always be certain administrative things that only the manager does but that does not set me above the staff as far as I am concerned. I am always very conscious of the fact that if something happened to me tomorrow, any one of my staff is perfectly capable of handling the day to day running of the business. On the other hand, if something happened tomorrow to all of my staff, I would be left in very deep ****.

Moral of the story ... my staff can manage without me but I cannot manage without them.

12th Apr 2002, 16:25
TG, I forgot to say I wish you the very best of luck in your quest for a job where you can be happy. May your search be a very short one.

Gunner B12
12th Apr 2002, 17:24

Your company sound very much like the way I have always striven to mould my areas to be. When I had my own business, if I wanted to knock off early the guys that worked for me would encourage me to continue and get the job finished rather than have to go back to it the next day. I encouraged this attitude not because I was greedy but because I was lazy.

This is why I got so much from reading "The flight of the buffallo" as referred to earlier. it points out that as with flights of geese each takes it's turn at leading when it is fittest for the task, and the task of modern management is to get the herd (buffallo) mentality to switch to the goose mentality.

I ended up with at least one of the people who used to work for me becoming what I hope will turn out to be a lifelong friend. Who even though I now live on the opposite side of the world touches base at least once a year (more than either of my brothers). Who I hope will one day get to visit Dunnunda but if I say much more I will get sentimental.

It is important as a "leader" to keep in mind that you hold that position courtesy of the people who make you look good to management.

:) :)

12th Apr 2002, 19:24
BlueD, what a pleasure to read how it can and should be done!
Brill post.