Thursday, October 1, 2009

Managers and manager-speak: This struck a nerve...

This post hit too close to home, and struck a nerve - about vapid manager-speak, like:
  • "At the end of the day"
  • "actionable"
  • "teaching opportunity"

Elbert HubbardImage via Wikipedia

and every managers favorite parable - "A Message to Garcia" by Elbert Hubbard [see ] Very snarky list of Management Speak and translation into plain English:
Management Speak Compilation - InfoWorld's Bob Lewis
I have been prone to "manager-speak", I am ashamed to say. I just had to take the opportunity to defend my shabby behavior in comment...

Wundt group of reseachImage via Wikipedia

Managers and manager-speak: what is a "manager," anyway? - Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science: "

...whether knowing that someone uses management jargon in their speech gives you information on how likely they are to be a manager...

Why? Because...

1) In paternalistic cultures, leaders are expected to project confidence, and lack of understanding is rarely punished. So rattling off canned phrases is effective for managers, because it is very unlikely to get called on it.

2) Without whips or waterboards, managers are expected, with only their voices, to do the impossible - motivate another person to do something that is against that person's instinct and habit. Against futility, they can only run off their mouths. Again, canned phrases help.

A manager that didn't avail himself to canned phrases would be such an eerie, uncanny creature it would likely be fired or chased down an alleyway with pitchforks or torches. It would creep out upper management and employees alike.

This is my excuse, and I am sticking with it. Manager speak is a good tool to dazzle people with bullshit, just long enough to make a quick get-away to a place where you can hide from the problem.
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