One of the most important things managers need to be able to say – Part 2 (Blog #40)

A sign that says sorry

“Sorry, I completely stuffed up!”

It can happen to the best of them. And it all starts with landing a new job as a manager and in the process of trying to be an outstanding success they become tyrants and completely lose sight of how miserable their team has become working for them.


Because while becoming obsessed in succeeding for themselves, they forget their team is made up of human beings and not androids from another planet. So much so that certain needs that people need to function, like eating lunch and having a break, starts to become a rare thing instead of an everyday thing.

What do I mean?

Let me paint a real-life picture for you:

Coming back from maternity leave I was slotted in a new team and by the second day my new manager asked me, “So, Mimoza, what do you think of the team?” And with no hesitation I said, “Your team is dying!” You should’ve seen have face. But that’s exactly what I saw and this is why.

The first thing I noticed was that people weren’t taking their lunch break and in a lot of cases weren’t having lunch at all. And leaving on time, according to our manager, was treated as one of the biggest crimes you could commit. People that left on time were spoken about with resentment as our manager had this overwhelming belief that unpaid overtime was an unwritten requirement to the success of any job. Working hours past five o’clock become a norm so much that meetings were being booked past five o’clock daily.

And with all this there was our manager still trying to convince us that she really cared about us. Yeah right! I think it’s safe to say we all missed that feeling.

When one employee’s motivation sunk really low, our manager offered to give her a chance to work from home. But then demanded, like a dictator, the next day that she provide proof of what she did. Only to appear clearly disappointed by the work done.

When another employee called in sick our manager expressed her outrage to the team by asking me to call that person back demanding a sick certificate for the next day. Was it even a requirement based on HR policy?

The manager was disgusted at anyone’s request to ask for extra pay for the countless hours of overtime and asked that no one put any requests for leave for up to 6 months at a time. Imagine what her face looked like when someone did (lol).

And all this I witnessed in no more than a 3-month period. And throughout this process my manger was completely convinced that in the whole team only 2 people were unhappy and saw them leaving as the solution to the problem.

When one of those people did leave, my manager made it no secret that she was happy with the decision, and yet it only took a couple of weeks to call her back to ask if she was willing to come in and help us out on finalizing a few things. Hang on a second, I thought she wasn’t right for the job?

By the end of those 3 months, within a couple of weeks, more than half the team left, either leaving to no job at all or moving onto another department.

And how was this handled by the company?

The following Monday, after half the team had left, our manager together with the CEO addressed the team, or what was left of it, with the news that she was also suddenly leaving by the end of the week. And the reason they gave us was that now she was working on another project somewhere else.

What utter bullshit! SHE GOT KICKED OUT!

What should’ve happened?

How could both the manager and CEO have earned respect and gained integrity in a situation so horribly gone wrong?

By addressing the team with something like this:
“Guys, we’ve completely stuffed up and we’re sorry!” 

Blog Tip #40 – Aiming to be perfect isn’t a realistic goal, neither with employees or managers and yet this is exactly what’s asked for in the corporate world. So when you stuff up there’s a very good chance you’ll get kicked out. What’s worse, no accountability of the mistake is taken. The higher up managers blame it on the person that gets kicked out and the person that gets kicked out doesn’t get a chance to fix it.

All this does is sets the tone for a culture that leaves their employees thinking you either have to come across as perfect at what you do, or you’re simply not good enough for the job.

And what does this result in?

A culture where people don’t accept blame and go to extreme measures to hide their mistakes and flaws. No matter what, even if it means working against their teammates.

A fantastic book I’m reading at the moment, which I’ll go through with you in more detail in future blog posts to come is “Permission To Screw Up” written by Kristen Hadeed. This is an excellent read regarding this topic and my recommendation is that you definitely check it out. Hey, if you can create a kick-ass culture in a cleaning company where the work isn’t glamorous by far, then there’s no limit to what you can do in a company where the jobs are more attractive.

So, what did you think about blog post #40? What part can you relate to? Tell me about it by leaving a comment blow.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

Let me share with you all the things I wish someone told me 10 years ago about the corporate world – subscribe to 10 Years and 9 Jobs TODAY and get your FREE 7-Day Mini Course – Work Culture Issues: The things that will do your head in daily and the reasons behind it. What companies will never speak to you about!

I’ll see you next week.


P.S. If you’re wondering what “One of the most important things that managers need to be able to say – Part 1” is, simply check out blog post #27 by clicking right here. It’s my most popular blog post thus far.

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