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Everybody loves to talk about “holding people accountable!”. You know, in the sense of “Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia“. The dilemma is that lots of  people want to hold others accountable without being held accountable themselves. Management wants to hold the workforce accountable, but not vice-versa. The DICforce wants to hold management accountable, but not vice-versa.

When managers clearly define, specify, and communicate expected employee outputs along with the times that those outputs are due, then they have the information to hold an employee “accountable” if those requirements are not met. However, bad managers (of which there are many) aren’t competent enough to know how to clearly define, specify, and communicate what specifically is needed to get the job done. They do, however, know how to specify and monitor due dates – because it doesn’t require much brain matter to do so. Any wino off the street could be hired to dictate and watch unrealistic due dates.

On the other side of the fence, since bad managers don’t contribute anything to the org other than “status taking and schedule jockeying“, employees have no reliable and honest way of holding managers accountable (even if they were “allowed” to; which they aren’t). What’s an employee supposed to do? Call out a manager for not “taking status and watching schedule“? Yeah, right.

Sooooooo. Once you become a manager, a rare good one or a ubiquitous bad one, you’ve got it made. Your buddies who anointed you into the management guild won’t hold you accountable because it’ll make them look bad for choosing you (and of course, they can’t look bad in front of the troops because they have to maintain the illusion of  infallibility). Your employees won’t hold you accountable either, because they want to remain hassle-free and you most likely don’t contribute anything of substance that is publicly and scrutably visible. It’s the best of both worlds and, in management lingo, a “win-win” situation.


  1. Ray
    August 31, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Eventually bad management will not have the right answers for its management. Like when will this project be done or what is the status of the project. The bad management can get away with it for a little while but it will catch up to them. Maybe not on the current project but the next. The issue employees have in that case is that the manager will want to know everything and start getting into the shorts of the employees. It isn’t comfortable at the point.

    If they are protected by their management, this process may take awhile, until the management of the bad boss turns over leaving them exposed.

  1. January 7, 2013 at 1:01 am

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