Optimal thought and optimal fitness through reason, logic, science, passion, and wisdom.
A Tool To Control Bad Management and Encourage Good
A Tool To Control Bad Management and Encourage Good

A Tool To Control Bad Management and Encourage Good

We’ve all had a bad manager(s), or know someone who has. It’s an unfortunate ancient human tradition, one most of us wish was gone or at least minimized by now. 

We are rational, self-sovereign social animals — but that means we are social animals and we have free will. Each of us makes choices about our character and about what to do in specific situations — but we don’t, either in education or in the culture, get much training in logic, critical thinking, root-cause analysis, historical thinking, or philosophic thinking. 

So no wonder we struggle, fail, or walk in the dark about some things. We don’t know what we don’t know. Or, as some say, “there are known knowns, there are known unknowns, and there are unknown unknowns.” We cannot choose what we don’t know or understand. 

Given an issue, we can blame a person, but, as they do in root-cause analysis, we should also blame the system — and seek to do what we can systemically to minimize or prevent the problem. We are dealing with people, not inanimate things, so we have only so much control, and have to stop trying to control things at a certain point. We have ethics to consider. (And we have the metaphysics of human nature to obey, whether we like it or not.)

But we can limit the damage caused by bosses/management who lie, manipulate, disturb, upset, undercut, and destroy. We can put some processes in play, some rules that we all have to play by, to minimize and limit what they can do.

One of those is to require proof of claims. 

If some boss/manager lies about an employee, saying they are not a team player, are poor at their job, etc., make the manager prove it. Some jobs are “at will,” but that should include all involved, and should be true and real, not some lie on the part of one hateful person. So make managers back up their claim and do their research. And the manager’s superior should do some of their own research, and not take their subordinate’s word for it. After all, if someone is going to manage people, they should know and understand their people. Otherwise, they should get a different job.

We should all be doing some of this on our own every day, anyway, so we know and understand who we are, who we are working with, who we are friends with. We cannot appreciate them for who and what they are, know their strengths and weaknesses, know their humanity, or help them, otherwise. 

So, here is one tool companies can use (see screen captures below), and develop into more of a system and process, to minimize irrationality and dishonesty in their midst — and to, more importantly, recognize and value good people and good employees in their midst. A company does not do well by condoning lies or letting good people be pushed away; a company prospers by getting and retaining good people who get along.

Here is an Excel spreadsheet of the tool:

If someone is not a team play or is poor at their job, it will be known. So, we should have evidence, not from one single manager, but from an employee’s peers, subordinates, and superiors. And we should hear from the employee themselves. 

For any claim made, we must have evidence, we must have reasoning from premises to claim, and we must identify a cause involved (if someone is doing something, why are they doing it? We need a “why?”). 

The manager should be required to identify their claim as well as the relevant counter-claim, look for evidence for reach, find an argument for each, and find a cause for each. The manager’s superior, who should have their own independent eye on this, should be the one to assess what everyone says, and to sign off on the final decision. Or maybe have the decision make by an outside arbiter, to prevent bias. For the process to work, a company or a team has to buy in, of course. It has to be required and has to be conformed to.

This kind of process is what reasonable people already do, to whatever extent and scope. The paperwork might be annoying or tedious, but the process is already there — though we can all improve, and should.

It’s the dishonest and irrational who will have a problem with this. As they should. It’ll help keep them in line. It’ll let them know to “put up, or shut up.”

(Image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_court#/media/File:Supreme_Court_of_the_Netherlands,_large_courtroom_(cropped).jpg)

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