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Another take on loyalty

Occasionally some of us might have the good fortune to work for a manager (could be an immediate supervisor or somebody two levels up with hiring/firing power) who goes to great lengths to ensure a good working environment for the people that work below them. They have a good awareness of everybody's personalities, capabilities, and career goals, and they work hard to fit people with assignments and positions in line with those characteristics.

With today's corporations that are addicted to layoffs as a panacea for all their problems, company loyalty has become a thing of the past.  But there are some managers who do things to inspire loyalty in the people who work for them.  In such cases the loyalty is to the manager and not the company per se.  The company benefits while the people do good work for the manager, but their loyalty is with the manager to the extent that they would want to follow the manager to another company.

I had the opportunity to work for a manager like that in my previous company.  I left because the company went through about six rounds of layoffs in three years and still hasn't seen a profit since they started the axing.  That manager has since left the company herself.  If she called me up about a position in her new company that would fall under her chain of command, I would give serious consideration to quitting my current job in order to follow her there.

T. Norman
Thursday, April 15, 2004

Well there's a big hint if ever I saw one !

Woodentongue
Thursday, April 15, 2004

I do agree with you.

In a previous job, one of the main reasons I was happy to put in stupid hours was that I knew that everyone was pulling their weight.

My boss's wife had to conive with his PA to ensure that he was kicked out of the office at a reasonable hours.

5.30 am
Phone rings
<Tapiwa> Hello
<Boss> Hello, Tapiwa
<Tapiwa> Boss, is that you?
<Boss> You sound half asleep. Did I wake you up? Oh shit, forgot that most people are still sleeping! Sorry for waking you. Call me when you can
-click-

Not only was he working harder and smarter than everyone else, he would go the extra mile to take care of his people.

One more thing I liked about him was that he was not a clock watcher, or micromanager. He let you get on with the job. If you wanted to do something, just run it past him. Not a stickler for corporate bullsh*t.

My kinda boss. And once again, my loyalty lay more with my boss than with the company.

Tapiwa
Thursday, April 15, 2004

Tapiwa, anyone who rings you at home at 5:30 am and then pretends they didn't know what they were doing is a complete scam artist. He had you.

me
Thursday, April 15, 2004

while I don't want to hijack the thread, why such cynicism?

He was genuinely apologetic about the incident. FWIW, he rang on my mobile, and not my home #.  This is just one incident demonstrating how focused and driven this guy was. He led from the front.

Nothing worse than a boss that says, "Guys, we need to work through the night to get this project out by tomorrow", and then goes off to play golf with his buddies.

It is little things like being first in the office, and last out (when there are work/time pressures) to motivate staff. Scam it might be, but it gets the work done while keeping morale/team spirit high.

Tapiwa
Thursday, April 15, 2004

A guy showing up at the office at 5:30AM is a role model?

Fred
Thursday, April 15, 2004

Yeah, we used to have a nice guy manager where I work. Do you remember what they say about where nice guys finish? He got eaten alive by sharks from the parent corporation. No more Mr Nice Guys around here now.

old_timer
Thursday, April 15, 2004

I manage four techies, and I've always thought that loyalty is good feedback that comes from creating a good work environment.  One of my employees came to me, nearly in tears, because he'd been cornered by two vice presidents who, in his mind, wanted him to rat me out, and he felt he'd done a poor job defending me.  When I approached the VPs about it, they immediately backpedalled and apologized to both of us, claiming a misunderstanding.

VPs as shitheads aside, I was touched by my employee's loyalty, and all of my nascent management theories were confirmed.  It also increased my loyalty to that employee.

I don't see how real loyalty can exist any other way but on a personal level between people in the chain of command.

Justin Johnson
Thursday, April 15, 2004

I've honestly never had a direct manager who added something to a project.  They've ranged from totally destructive forces to mostly harmless, but none has ever added to the success of a project.  Am I just unlucky?  Have most people had excellent managers at some point in time?

anon
Thursday, April 15, 2004

Fred ... he was working from home.

Tapiwa
Thursday, April 15, 2004

My best manager was a rugby playing, beer swilling, curryhead. A great bloke to work for :)


Thursday, April 15, 2004

> I've honestly never had a direct manager who added something to a project.

Perhaps it depends on the size of the company: at a smaller company your direct manager might be the founder/owner/CEO, or the chief developer, or the VP of software development.

Christopher Wells
Thursday, April 15, 2004

Anon,

Real managers that add value to a project are rare, but they do exist.

I had the pleasure of working with one at my previous job.

David Jones
Thursday, April 15, 2004

Are manager really supposed to add direct value? Besides maybe giving you some warm fuzzies (which may be what you are talking about) arent they just supposed to put the right people in the right place to succeed and keep all the jackals from f***ing it up?

Anon-y-mous Cow-ard
Thursday, April 15, 2004

Is that loyalty or more like sitting under a shady
tree on a hot day?

son of parnas
Thursday, April 15, 2004

I dunno about adding something to a project.  I noticed that with one of my best managers, I never encountered any obstacles.  And, that's what I view as a good manager.  His job is to make sure that 1) I know what needs to be done, and 2) I there are no roadblocks to my doing it.  No harrassment by VPs.  No worrying about spiffing up my desk because the investors are coming by.  No lack of coffee in the morning, etc...

rich on the run
Thursday, April 15, 2004

Hey I've got lots of experience doing that kind of thing!  I ought to switch careers!

Al "The Protector" Capone
Thursday, April 15, 2004

>> Are manager really supposed to add direct value?

I think of managers as being like referees at sporting events -- if they're doing their jobs well, you never notice them at all.  If they do something wrong, everyone notices and on one forgets it.

Boofus McGoofus
Thursday, April 15, 2004

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