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🦉 10x curiosity - Second Law of Bad Management


🦉 10x curiosity

August 29 · Issue #223 · View online

🦉 A weekly sample of links that made me think 🤔

Also published in 10x Curiosity
The team is stretched thin already yet you are told another person needs to be moved to a role and no, numbers are tight and you cannot back fill them. Everyone else in the team is busy on important work, previous cuts mean there is no slack in their schedules to pick up the work of the now departed person. There is nothing left for it but for you, the leader, to step in and pick up their work to keep the ship moving in the right direction. The work is too important to drop and you are proud to keep things moving and not complain…
And in doing so you have just committed what Tom Demarco in the wonderful book “Slack” calls the Second Law of Bad Management
Put yourself in as your own utility infielder
Writes Demarco:
Assigning yourself to an unfilled position in your domain means that you unassign yourself (at least partially) from the task of managing that domain. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this to any manager, but unfortunately it is: 
Management matters. Yes, the uncovered task matters too, but not as much. 
The lore may be everywhere, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy into it yourself. To do your job correctly and well, you need to foster an attitude that is quite the opposite. You need to understand that management (the management that you provide) is utterly essential. It is. 
I am personally guilty of doing this so many times as a leader. Taking up this task into an already full schedule, inevitably something has to suffer and it is frequently your leadership. Why is our inclination to let this happen. Demarco believes that because the work of leadership, the actual work, is scary and unsafe and challenging. Therefore dropping back to perform these lower tasks
… keeps you safe. So if you manage at all, that has to be a parttime task. The rest of the time you are making product, bringing in revenue. Bringing in revenue makes you safe; the time you spend managing therefore won’t count too heavily against you … provided you keep it to a minimum. 
… we’re fleeing from challenge… get[ting] cold feet and look for a way out. The challenges of management are daunting
Concludes Demarco:
 Management is hard, and not because there is so much work to do (an overworked manager is almost certainly doing work he/she shouldn’t be doing). Management is hard because the skills are inherently difficult to master. 
Your mastery of them will affect your organization more than anything going on under you. Running away from the challenge doesn’t
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