Not long ago I had a wonderful email exchange with an internet friend who shall remain nameless. We were talking about the motherfuckers who seem, these days, to do so well in our business. Mind you, these people never produce work, never win business, never raise the bar. However, they're always first in line to grab credit and self-promote.
He's weathered more than a few storms in his life and career. Here's his perspective:
"The problem also proceeds from the spread of what I see as the American style of "managing upwards".
"I always thought that managers looked downwards and their first responsibility was to the people who reported to them i.e. they knew a) who was working for them, b) what they were doing, c) whether they had time and resources to do it and d) when to step in and help them complete the task.
"Management upwards is, however, a very different approach. This demands that the manager's first priority is to manage the experience and expectations of the person above them. This means that they spend most of their time ensuring that their boss remains untouched and untroubled by the day-to-day functioning of the business.
"They, themselves, rise and fall not by their ability to ensure that it functions productively ( As you and I know, productivity is best achieved by a happy and engaged workforce.)
"On the contrary, their destiny is shaped by their ability to manipulate information and practice politics in order to (that dreaded phrase,) "raise their profile".
"Which means that aspirant middle managers (who want to escape the squeezed middle) are complicit and, indeed, try to become junior partners in the C - level carve up."