I’ve been wondering about how scheming managers really are. I think I’ve wondered before whether management selects for assholes or whether as you move into it you just conform to the system as it is. It’s probably something in between.
I’ve dealt with managers of different types: the scream in your face person, the narcissistic manipulator, the narcissistic self-absorbed neglectful type, the borderline personality disorder, and the sweet to your face stab you in the back. I’ve seen one high level employee use me in his games as a possible source for blame. I’ve seen the board rigged so that a favorite friend will get the credit if a project succeeds but I’m still near enough I can go down with the ship if necessary. And I’ve seen others above me throw me under an oncoming bus for seemingly no reason. Presumably to blame your subordinates is to admit you lack management skills or can’t lead them yourself. It also says something about your own engineering weaknesses when you’ll allow an early career engineer to take the blame on a project you’re overseeing.
But are managers really this consciously devious? I mean I see it all happening, but then I’m a potential victim so I have an incentive to watch the game very closely and make sure that, pawn that I am, I’m not about to be sacrificed. Sometimes I’m not even sure the shmucks at the top realize what they are doing. It’s become so second nature to rig the game in such a way they don’t even realize how they’re lining me up to be their scapegoat or don’t consider whether they’re sacrificing their own credibility when they look to put the onus on someone they are supposed to be closely supervising. To give them clear motives almost gives them too much credit for their schemes.
(Photo from Flickr)