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The SAS Institute has been one of my favorite software companies to watch over the years. They were like Google before Google. The reason that I’m mentioning SAS is because while I was browsing through my notes, I stumbled upon this quote from a SAS manager:

Nothing corrodes respect between a boss and an employee more quickly than the sense that the boss has no idea what the employee is doing. Managers who understand the work that they oversee can make sure that details don’t slide. At SAS, groups agree on deadlines, and managers understand what their groups do — so unrealistically optimistic promises about time-tables and completion dates are relatively rare.

The quote came from this 2004 article in Fast Company magazine: Sanity Inc. The quote struck a chord with me back then, and it still does now. In my case, I don’t necessarily disrespect a manager that doesn’t know what I’m doing. I disrespect managers who:

  • Are apathetic and show no interest in what I’m doing, regardless of whether they know the subject matter or not.
  • Don’t ask me how I’m doing, and how they can help me do my job better, regardless of whether they know the subject matter or not.
  • Just stop by only when they need to collect status, without wanting to hear about any bureaucratic procedural roadblocks that are, or specific people who are, hindering my progress.
  • Pretend to know what I’m doing and make suggestions on what to do next, even though we both know (or, at least I know) that the manager has no clue.

How about you? What causes you to lose respect for your manager(s)?

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  1. February 9, 2010 at 1:02 am

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