Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Top Down Management

Simply doing what the boss says even though you know it's stupid is irresponsible. I know many people who do a lot of stupid stuff at work and am constantly amazed at how often completely competent and intelligent people will do insane things just because the boss said so. It probably shouldn't surprise me, after all, history is replete with examples where a charismatic leader inspired millions of people to do really, REALLY bad things. It just stuns me that, in a corporate environment, people will wander off and do really stupid things without even letting the boss know it's stupid.

I think this is, in part, a problem in technology organizations because it is not necessarily a meritocracy, but the the people "in the trenches" like to think that it is. After all, how inspired are you going to be if, after 23 years on the job, you're at the top technical position in the company, and the are still 5 layers of managers between you and the top.

It's as if we are still trying to pretend that technology jobs are the same as factory jobs: You've got "management" who are college educated folks, and the "workers" who simple do what their told. Somehow this culture, in large organizations, still persists and causes no end to chaos.

We really need to come to grips with reality and realise that technology is a skilled trade and the masters of that trade and the ones who should be in charge. How quickly would the medical community disintegrate if the "head of surgery" was a communications major who never once performed and actual surgery. What would happen if the person in charge of plumbing for a huge skyscraper was actually an English major. Obviously, if these folks are skilled leaders they could be successful, but not nearly as much as if they where also masters in the trade.

No comments: