Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.

Monday, May 16, 2005  

The toughest part of management is personnel. Everyone says they want to be a leader, blah blah blah, but leaders generally don't worry about the dotted "i"'s and crossed "t"'s. They are busy preaching change and strategy, leaving the broken pieces to be picked up and sorted by middle management.

Damn, that's some jaundiced stream of consciousness that has nothing to do with my point about personnel.

Three weeks ago I restructured our department and eliminated a position (aka "put someone on the street"). An uninviting task and the first person I've ever directly sent packing. I have another similar task for a probationary position who isn't working out. She'll be gone at the end of Monday. It seems like I'm on a losing streak with personnel lately. And every time I make that decision, someone's losing their livelihood, maybe their home, maybe their chance to make it big. It's an ugly decision made under cold fluorescent lights in a small office with stale air. If you stop "sharpening the saw" and keeping up your skills, whether technical or managerial, the axe may come for you. And yet it's a sound business decision, not just for the company, its shareholders, bondholders and customers -- it provides opportunity for someone else who is hungry and hardworking and fulfills the needs of the organization. That new person may grow and prosper or may get complacent and get left behind. I'm just here picking up the pieces. And sometimes breaking them.

On a somewhat more positive note, I did put a candidate through hell today in order to gauge whether he could become a systems engineer in our firm. I think he did well -- not only polished on a personal level, but able to produce positive results on the practical skills part of the interview. I didn't get any heebee jeebees (HR jargon) from his resume or the interview. I hope I've done my due diligence a little better than the last time.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 5/16/2005 08:34:00 PM

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