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What Happened to the Managers?

When has work stopped being fun? When have managers decided it is a good idea not to protect their teams?

I think the reason people don't want to work is because work has become excruciatingly painful when it comes to management. And it is not that managers are incompetent or the usual things employees tend to moan about.

Today, managers are different! You cannot trust them not to throw you under the bus, to talk behind your back or to report you to HR if you do something they don't like.

The way I grew up in the industry looked very different. I had managers who protected us from everyone including HR. They would not let HR near their teams and took control of sorting our problems out. They covered up our mistakes as much and as long as they could but were not afraid to give us bollocking if we were really stupid.

They understood that employees are not perfect robots who follow instructions and never stop out of line. They understood that managing people is not easy and that we are their responsibility. They understood that work is not a life-or-death situation and we don't have to take it seriously we just need to get the job done.

Finally, they understood that if we can't trust them we won't work for them.

I remember having managers who stood up for us instead of saying "It is HR policy" when we should have been fired.

I remember back in 2003-2005 drinking red wine from a coffee cup during long, 16-hour banqueting shifts thinking our managers didn't know it. Guess what? They did but said nothing only monitored us in case we got carried away. We never did. Today, my manager would report me to HR, I guarantee you that.

I remember my managers being able to make decisions about our special requests without running to HR and us ending up being questioned why we wanted to take two months of paid leave.

I remember, that the management's mentality was; "It is easier to keep people even though they themselves are not easy" and not that "It is easier to replace people."

I remember that this type of management style created a cohesive environment where we loved going to and were fiercely protective of each other. Our teams were like a fortress, nobody could get through. There was no weak link who would betray us. Nobody knew anything about what was going on within the team, unlike today, when we know what Julie did wrong 5 minutes ago in Finance because her manager is already in our office complaining about her to our boss.

Today, everyone is up against each other and the management uses this. I have seen this many times including my boss. Playing us against each other, creating a deliberate conflict so she could get the information she wanted or build cases to fire people.

I have heard managers urging their team members to grass the other up with the promise of reward. Managers often talk behind their own team members' backs to other managers, team members or HR and this is where employees have drawn the line.

This is where they say, no darlings, we ain't doing that. So they shut down, teams become fragmented, lack trust, and everyone is on the lookout for the next backstabbing.

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