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176 pages, Paperback
First published October 8, 1996
Leadership isn't something you're born with. It's something you learn by reading Dogbert books.
As a manager you could do a lot of thinking, experimenting, and continuous training. Or you can just do what everyone else does and blindly follow my directions like an unthinking zombie. Blind obedience is easier than the alternatives and the pay's the same. In fact, the pay is better, if you look at it from an hourly perspective. So keep reading.
It's important that your employees think you are smart. Judging from the fact that you're reading this book, you'll probably have to fake it. Listen carefully to the zombie-like speech patterns of other managers and try to imitate them. If you hear a new management buzzword, jump on it like a starving squirrel on the last peanut on earth.
Some rookie managers make the mistake of inviting input from the employees, hoping for some valuable insight or contribution. As far as unwarranted optimism goes, this is roughly equivalent to panning for gold in your own shower.
OBJECTIVES FOR MEETINGS
1. Clear your desk by assigning tasks to the powerless dolts trapped in the meeting.
2. Exhibit your keen conceptual grasp of the big picture
4. Avoid answering any questions.
Nothing good ever came from a management decision. Avoid making decisions whenever possible. They can only get you in trouble.
Leadership skills are quite different from management skills. When you "manage," by definition, you're trying to distribute resources where they will do the company the most good. When you "lead," by definition, you're trying to get those resources distributed to yourself. Obviously, leadership is a better way to go. It's easier too.
When we are born, all humans are clueless, self-absorbed, and helpless. Most babies will grow out of it. Those who don't become managers.
There are many hours in the day that get wasted because employees insist on eating, sleeping, and procreating. You can reduce those unproductive periods by forcing them to work unpaid overtime.
But don't refer to it as unpaid overtime. Refer to it as a "commitment to professionalism" or some other noble-sounding name. Never, ever refer to it as "HA HA HA, YOU'RE WORKING HARD FOR NOTHING!!!" That would be demotivating.
Rumors are an excellent way to keep your employees nervous and edgy, which is similar to being alert. Actually, it's better. When they're alert they realize what you're doing to them and they resist. But when they're edgy they work like crazed bumblebees and die of stress before they become cynical. In other words, everyone wins.
As a manager, you will have the least amount of useful information of anyone in the organization. You can compensate for that by being the one who does all the presenting. Use computer slide shows and overhead transparencies to disguise your cluelessness.
Your stature as a leader grows primarily through the process of getting lots of attention. It's hard to get attention by succeeding, because your boss will deftly hog the glory. But if you screw up a huge project, your boss will slither aside faster than an adder at the Ice Capades. Your name will become forever linked with the epic failure you have created.
Being linked with epic failures sounds bad, but it's not. The next time senior management needs someone to manage a big project, they'll say, "Who has experience?" Your name will be on the top of the list. Everyone else will either be busy or unknown. You'll be the obvious choice—the person who knows what pitfalls to avoid. And don't worry that those senior managers will scrutinize this decision too closely. They're busy screwing up things to enhance their own careers.
Empowerment is the process of shifting blame from yourself to the employees . According to highly paid consultants , this will make the employees happier, thus reducing their unreasonable demands for a living wage.
Find the most useless employee in your department and put that person in charge of whatever the new management initiative is. Give that person a title like "Manager of Excellence in Customer Care."
This way you appear to be complying with the corporate initiative but you lose very little in productivity, except for the endless burdens this person will place on the other poor employees who are trying to do real work.
In the unlikely event that your job generates any real work, fob it off on your underlings by having them form "self-managed teams." That's an elegant way of saying they do your job in addition to their own. This is a bit like teaching the cows to milk themselves, but it's possible if they're flexible.
Despite the fact that your soul abandoned your body when you became a manager, there will still be some corporate tasks that are so horrible, so evil, that you will not be able to do them yourself.
Other times you might need to do something cruel, but you won't want to leave your fingerprints at the scene. For these situations you need a human resources staff.
Some people are naturally equipped for careers in human resources. In other cultures these folks would become serial killers or ruthless despots. But we live in a civilized society, so these irrepressible scamps can channel their talents into the field of human resources instead.
TEN RULES OF MANAGEMENT
1. You're always right, even when you're stupid.
2. The physical laws of time and space were meant to be broken.
3. The problem is not a lack of resources, it's a lack of meetings.
4. When in doubt, ask for status reports.
5. If you're talking, you're communicating.
6. Low morale is caused by character flaws in your employees.
7. If ten people can complete a project in ten days, then one person can complete the project in one day.
8. Teamwork is when other people do your work for you.
9. Employee illness is a manifestation of laziness.
10. Abuse is a form of recognition. And recognition is what every employee wants.