I was hoping that things would start slowing down in the office — but alas they are not. In fact, they seem to be quite hectic for an end of the year. Our CEO decided that we needed to get some global certification for our business. He, therefore, invited a foreign company to audit and rate all our processes and systems.
He excitedly told us about this during a managers meeting where he said, "I am convinced that achieving this gold standard will help boost our staff morale and build credibility with our stakeholders.”
In all honesty, I could not understand his thinking — hasn’t he figured out by now that the only thing that boosts our morale is pay increases and bonuses-, which presently are looking unlikely for this year.
I looked around the room and noticed that most of my fellow managers seemed very excited about the idea- it was hard to tell whether their feelings were genuine or they were acting.
I decided that the best way was to follow the majority and behave as if the CEO was sharing the most exciting idea on the planet. The CEO then looked around the room and said: "I need a volunteer to compile all the necessary information and ensure we have a winning entry.”
A colleague nudged me and gave me a wink — little did he know that I was not going to raise my hand to take on any more work.
It seemed like a very long two minutes before three hands went up — I was surprised to see our latest recruit — the corporate affairs manager — raise his hand. It seemed that the volunteers were not enough for the CEO as he kept on trying to egg us on by saying, "surely my managers cannot be this scared of taking on additional challenges.”
These words did not seem to change anything and finally, the CEO decided to assign the responsibilities. You can imagine my shock when he charged Billy — our new corporate affairs manager with this huge responsibility. He looked at Billy and said: "This is going to be the best and most effective induction into this company as you will get to learn about the entire business as you collect information."
Little did Billy, who was preening like a cat, know he was the subject of our pity.
I walked back to my office pleased that I had dodged the “bullet” of additional work. A few minutes later, I heard a knock on my door — it was Billy. He requested for a minute to chat with me and I did not have a choice but to oblige.
He said: "Josphat my man! I will need your help with this project." I was a bit peeved that he was taking liberties by being overfamiliar. I was not going to give away anything so I diplomatically said: "What can I do to help?" He went on about a list of information that he needed from me, or where he needed me to point him on where to look.
Listening to him, I got the sense that he was trying to get me to do most of the project work. I laughed and said: "I do not think I can help you with all of that- you only need to talk to heads of departments and you will get your responses."
Billy seemed disappointed with my response and he told me: "The CEO told me you are the man to help me, especially because you are one of the longest serving managers.”
Billy did not know I could read through him — he was trying to pull rank to get me to do his bidding. I told him: "That may be true but you should see my in-tray plus people will more than readily help you.” He seemed disappointed by my response as he walked out of my office. The conversation let me feeling a bit disconcerted.