5 ways to stay sane if your boss is a micromanager

The worst thing an organisation can do is to reward pathological behaviour

5 ways to stay sane if your boss is a micromanagerMy boss, Janet, was clever, hardworking and had an amazing eye for detail. She had high standards: if you e-mailed with a question at 10 p.m., she replied by 10.05. She worked hard, delivered on time, hated mistakes and expected the same from her team. She was driving us mad. We had been working on…

Get emotional about a culture of safety

You can’t be “half pregnant” when it comes to safety

Get emotional about a culture of safetyIt was a small terraced house in a northern English city. The young couple did not look old enough to have a son in our apprentice programme. They gave me a cup of tea and I sat down on their sofa. There was no TV, just some chairs, a picture of their son and the…

Emerging from the swamp of dysfunctional business relationships

Anyone who tells you that they have a magic bullet, silver or otherwise, for complex and systemic problems belongs in a travelling fair

Emerging from the swamp of dysfunctional business relationshipsAs I looked round the room at my executive team, the acid in my stomach got worse. Dave, our Operations VP, was convinced that Erica from Finance was out to get him: ‘you watch what happens at the end of the quarter, she squirrels the provisions away and makes me look bad, she wants to…

Annual reviews only feed corporate paranoia

The whole employee rating process is a recipe for disaster

Annual reviews only feed corporate paranoiaI was 23 when I got my first promotion, to Acting Assistant Labour Relations Manager in the UK’s Health Service. My boss’s gift to me was my one and only report, Megan, 20 years old, grumpy, difficult and the department’s secretary. My first task in my new position was to deliver her end of year…

Painful lessons in effective leadership

The mad and the bad have no place in any organisation

Painful lessons in effective leadershipI had just joined a factory in England’s industrial heartland and my new Managing Director – let’s call him Neil – was five foot two, 240 pounds of explosive malevolence. He was an ex-purchasing director whose winning formula was to squeeze his miserable suppliers into penury and he was honing his approach with his new…