I know some of you are list hounds, so if you'd rather skip the monologue, scroll down a bit.

A month ago I shared some specific ways to get ahead at work.

For me it worked, I got promoted within my IT group and was actually

bumped up 2 spots. As I mentioned in that post, I was promoted directly

by a VP (my boss' boss), which was unusual. Since then my boss was let

go basically because anarchy broke out in the group and people were

quitting daily. However, it got me thinking. What if I didn't have a VP

that recognized my efforts? When does the atmosphere at work get so

backstabbing and bureaucratic, that there is no good process to

overcome it? What if a star employee wants to grow but management

doesn't know what to do or how to take advantage of the enthusiasm and


Those are all questions

that I will address over the next few weeks because they are best

answered individually. However, there are several things that mid-level

managers can do to keep employees happy and there are even more things

they can do to irritate them to the point of quitting or becoming a


I polled the other guys in my group and we built a damn

good list of things that our IT manager did that led to him losing his

$100K/year job. Note that I left a few specific things out because I

don't need anyone getting pinched. If you repeat these things

successfully, you too will get your team to hate you. If you are a

reporting to someone that does these things, print this and do the old

Office Space under the door routine.

  • Assign enough projects

    with tight deadlines so that your team has no choice but to work a 60

    hour week while you only work 30 hours

  • Cap overtime pay.

  • Do not offer project pay.

  • Constantly

    underestimate the time it takes to get things done and then penalize

    employees' bonuses because they didn't hit the goal.

  • Talk more than you listen.

  • Tell the team to begin planning for tons of deployments but never obtain the budget to actually implement any of them.

  • Don't

    trust written time cards. Make employees email you when they get to the

    office so you can see a timestamp when they get in.

  • Always take sides in disputes instead of moderating.

  • Avoid looking people in the eye.

  • Reprimand employees in front of the entire team.

  • Hire someone that is very weak to take the place of a veteran and expect the same results from the team.

  • Reprimand Mark but don't reprimand Tony when he makes the same error.

  • Consistency is good. Never ask you employees if they are challenged enough or want to take on more responsibility.

  • Make promises to internal customers but have no idea on the elements involved in getting the task done.

  • You know that Tony is a slacker, but he is really cool to hang out with so keep him around and give him good reviews.

  • Suzy can take 20 minute breaks instead of 10 because she's a little cuter than Paul.

  • Give your employees 2nd tier systems to work with but expect top tier results.

  • Never cross train anybody on anything. The skills they walked in with are the skills they are leaving with.

  • Mandate a new policy without consulting a single person that will have to live with it.

  • Give employees low raises because the more you save, the higher your bonus.

  • When talking to an employee on the phone, type away at your email. That's a great time to catch-up!

  • When

    someone comes to you with an issue regarding another employee, use a

    lot of big words to explain the situation but really take no interest

    or action.

  • Create a desk cleanliness policy.

  • When Suzy comes in late and leaves early, and we complain, do nothing about it.

  • Instead of offering to help hands-on, watch from a distance and provide support over email.

  • Mandate that the entire team use a single to-do list application simply because you think it's best.

  • Make your best employees train the newbies for weeks at a time but insist that all deadlines be met.

  • Never answer your cell phone.

  • Never be the on-call guy to share in the team burden.

  • Have a group of employees that you get a long with and go out to lunch with while those that you don't like get left out.

  • Send employees lots of chain letters, poems and other crap spam when they are hard at work.

  • Constantly give your employees vague project plans and get pissed when the result is not what you wanted.

  • Refuse to upgrade a system after the entire team asks for it and then be sure not to give a valid reason.

  • Blame everything on your boss because no one will ever call you on it.

  • Make all men wear ties.

  • Do not let employees expense cell phone use but require a cell phone number for the on-call guy.

  • Shut off access to Google and Ebay because it's not required for work.

  • Never let employees hangout and use the corp. network to play games after hours.

  • Tell employees to do plan B because you will save $11 even though plan A is the safer, more efficient way to go.

  • I don't care what they are working on. No one should get a monitor larger than yours

  • Insist employees come to your wife's silly Barbecue.

  • Give advice on topics you are only partially educated in.

  • When the kudos are handed out, you should take the credit because you managed the team. Do not give credit to anyone else.

  • Monitor all phone use.

  • Charge someone .25 days off for a dentist appointment.

  • Lecture the team at least weekly.

  • Hold team meetings to provide updates even though the updates only pertain to one-third of team.

  • Buy the team lunch and always forget that Vegan in the corner...he'll come around.

  • Make the team fill out self evaluations but provide very vague feedback on what they type.

  • Sleep with that girl Suzy on the team. No one will suspect she's getting preferential treatment.

  • Call the redhead guy on the team Rusty. Everyone will laugh and you are sure to win their hearts.

  • Make

    sure the cubicles are as close to each other as physically possible.

    The open areas surrounding the group will be used eventually.

  • Make the entire team read a book and then set aside 3 hours to discuss it. This is sure to increase productivity.

  • Let a couple people work from the house, but provide no reason for it or ways for others to obtain the right.

  • Insist that employees complete projects that even you admit are worthless.


I mentioned, I had more but it was too close to home. If you have any

intention of becoming a manager, don't do these things. I don't care if

you are in charge of the frozen foods at the grocery store...don't make

people feel worthless and don't undermine their abilities. If you are

just starting out as a manager there are 2 books that you should

consider reading. One is Becoming a Successful Manager and the other, which is my favorite, is The First Time Manager.