One of the aspects of my job that I really don't enjoy in the wonderful world of middle management is team meetings. Having to sit down with all of your staff and pass on (with a straight face) the corporate propaganda and answer questions on all of the issues of the day.
It's a terrible thing to say but I have tried to avoid regular meetings as I find it a lot easier to speak to my staff on an individual basis. I do get rather nervous about leading team get togethers. Especially as you know that you will end up being asked lots of questions that you don't know the answer to. Mainly because you haven't been given the information yourself or you didn't know that there was an issue in the first place. It sometimes feels like you're a target at a fairground shooting range.
You try your best to help and give guidance and instruction. The trouble is that you're not infallible and you don't know everything. If you attempt to bluff your way through you will get caught out eventually and if you admit you don't know an answer to a question you get derisive glances and a lowering of confidence in your abilities amongst your staff. I will always go for the latter option but either way you're going to look a fool
But this morning I had to bow to the inevitable, gather my people together and discuss 'Ishoos'.
Ishoo's that really, with any degree of common sense, anyone should be able to work out for themselves, but I guess one of the joys of management is having to do peoples thinking for them.
One of the the other pleasures is having a team of disparate ages, egos and outlooks on work and life which of course in itself isn't a problem. Except in these meetings when their enmity is obvious and through the flow of conversation and questions you're at best being asked to arbitrate between their interpretations and at worst take sides.
When they won't look at each other but all look at you to provide the answer that they want.
And all you want to do is help them get the job done so that you and they can get home to the important things in life.
But the thing that really annoys me is the abuse of the English language. I know everyone in the world has posted about this but it's no less annoying for that fact.
I have one individual in my charge who just can't resist using every buzz phrase and banality available in these meetings in an attempt to appear the most business like and competent amongst her peers.
For example today we were subjected to;
'Going Forward' or in the future as normal humans would say.
'Rolling Out' no not pastry, but rather the introduction and implementation of a particular modus operandi
Thinking 'Out of the box' where lateral would have sufficed
and several times when debating a point she could 'hear what I was saying, but...'
I know as her manager I could have enforced my view and cut the conversation dead but I've always tried to encourage constructive conversation and debate.
I'm sure that there are lots of good managers out there who are totally on top of their brief and could teach me a lot about this game. I wish one of them would. But there are times when I wish that supermarket shelf stacking paid enough to cover my household expenses. No wider responsibility than doing your best during the working day and then going home again.
I would have real fun at team meetings prodding at my manager with silly questions and using the most bizarre language in an attempt to appear clever.