A boss bad-mouthing his employees went viral today.
“We bring together skilled professionals to help businesses and careers succeed. It’s more than a job, it’s our craft.” – Mars Recruitment website
First basic mistake: careers can’t succeed. They’re concepts; they can’t even breathe.
Second big mistake: these skilled professionals are ‘directed’ by a Marcus Wood, who this week decided his ‘craft’ is sending obnoxious email rants to his staff.
Get a load of this:
Marcus Wood, director of Mars Recruiting, you’re getting on my tits – and I actually own a pair. Yours must be ‘man boobs’ in which case you need a gym. Here’s what I have to say to you:
1. It’s not possible for any human being to play endless ping pong. Universes don’t work like that. Stop exaggerating to sound more impressive than you really are. If you exaggerate ping pong game timetables, people might think you’re exaggerating other stuff. Provide data to back up your claims. If employees are performing poorly, deal with it like a director, not a pushy little bully. Your company is recruitment. Surely, you recruited the right people? If so, then the problem lies in your leadership. It may even lie in your soul.
2. Answer this: can you honestly say you never took a sick day when you weren’t sick? If you can and you’re not one of those people who lies to themselves to beat back the oncoming cloud of shame, then good for you. So lead by example. Foster a culture in your business where people want to work hard and want to perform. Directors are directly responsible for the motivation across their staff. Underperformance is more a reflection of who you are than those people. You might sneer at this statement, but it’s true. Give people a reason to work – but a good reason is never a mindless threat.
3. I saw Philadelphia when I was sixteen. It’s a powerful, moving piece of art. Using it in your rant only demonstrates how shallow a person you are, how pathetic and how desperate. That line is your biggest mistake of the lot, but I’m glad you wrote it, because you showed others a secret door into your mind – a door you hoped no one would find. You “saw red” (as he later claimed)? No, you saw an image of yourself as successful and clever.
4. Guilt-tripping is for losers. (“… a cost to the company and me personally”). Also, why should any employee give a rat’s arse about your personal wealth? Get real. Hire some morals. Learn how to ask for things without using manipulative tactics, fear-mongering and ‘me-me-me-I’m-so-important’ rhetoric. You’ll become a better person and you’ll get a better response from your staff.
5. “You will FEEL MY WRATH and that is not pretty” – I won’t even lower myself or my readers to the level of this Star Wars-esque playground battle insult. Plus anyone who feels it necessary to qualify that their wrath as ‘not pretty’ probably isn’t that menacing when you scrape away their bolshy outer coating.
In answer to his rant going viral, Marcus said: “It seems I am becoming an online sensation for how NOT to communicate – and in hindsight I agree!! I do value you all, but I am sure you get my sentiments in wanting you to reach your full potential, even if my delivery in this case was not at my loquacious best.”
The fact that he sees himself as “an online sensation” during this mess is a true measure of this man. Most people would cower in embarrassment at the communal shame. So take heed; this is a warning. It’s a clear indication of this man’s overinflated sense of self-importance. At its worst, this can mean narcissism. Also, for those babbling minions amongst us who don’t know what ‘loquacious’ means, don’t fear. Some people resort to peppering their vocab with big, unusual words to impress. Marcus probably did the same kind of stuff in the playground. Anyway, it just means ‘talkative’, which is ironic because I think Marcus was at his talkative best. I think a better word he could have used would have been ‘human’.
In his follow-up to staff, Wood wrote: “I am happy to hold my hands up, and to this end I wanted to apologise. Obviously some of you know me pretty well and know I shoot from the hip, but obviously others don’t.”
A lot of people won’t realise how potentially manipulative (and teeth-chatteringly annoying) this language is. Subtle, yes, but there are clues to a possible lack of sincerity here. Let me break it down in detail:
“I am happy to hold my hands up”. But wait, Marcus has no choice. Saying he is happy to be discovered as a poor director is hard to believe. This is a clever tactic to make us think he’s ok with the viral reprimand, but deep down, I bet my bottom dollar he isn’t. “… to hold my hands up” is an interesting phrase. I could feel sorry for a man in such a terrible position as to need to hold his hands up – because here Marcus implies he is in firing range, a victim of gunmen i.e. aggressors, and not the aggressor himself. “I wanted to apologise.” Yes, but will he? That’s past tense. He wanted to, but maybe he’s not going to. Also, it’s a known psychological fact that people who say, “I apologise,” are less genuine than people who actually say, “I’m sorry.” It’s their subtle way of getting out of really apologising. It’s a form of denial. “Obviously some of you know me pretty well”. What has that got to do with anything? Does anyone really know him? Does he know himself? And why does knowing him change anything about what he did? Could this be avoiding responsibility? Yes it is. Marcus is implying that knowing him well is a reason not to take offence and anyone who does take offence, simply didn’t know him. This could be a diversionary tactic. It’s also further denial – denial that his behaviour was that bad. This next phrase is classic (and smarmy): “and know I shoot from the hip.” So now, Marcus has the imaginary gun. But in this context, he sees himself as being a more powerful and impressive director for being in control. This is how he sees himself as gaining respect and it hints at a dictatorial style of leadership, one that does not foster healthy communication, increased motivation or employee satisfaction. “…but obviously others don’t.” I sense blame. Marcus seems to be reinforcing the earlier hint that people who haven’t taken the time to get to know him (and who wouldn’t want to? He’s such a warm person!) are offended because they didn’t know what to expect. It’s their fault, not his.
A ‘spokeswoman’ for Wood explained that his fondness for the phrase “getting on my tits” was because he was Scottish. I feel sorry for this ‘spokeswoman’ as, by supporting such a plonker as Wood, she now looks like one herself.
Think before you rant, Marcus. Write down your top five values and look at them closely. To give examples, some of mine are: love, empathy, courage, honesty and equality. What are your values? What are your employees’ values? I’ll give you a tip: if you align your values with theirs, you’ll see an increase in workplace happiness, staff commitment and, as a result, productivity. Stop talking and start listening. Then sling yourself out of your own office door and go find out why you are the person you are, if you like the person you are and how you can like yourself more. If the result of this inward analysis is ‘get richer’ don’t bother going back to the office. If what you want is more than just financial success (think ‘respect’, ‘a better communicator’ and ‘more successful’), then walk back in and show your staff who you can be. Show them you have changed. Don’t just say it; prove it. Know it. Be it. Be the director who listens and thinks and you will have a team of employees who wake up every morning and want to see you. Remember, careers can’t live, but they can die.
Anyway, to end, allow me to introduce you to a perfectly reasonable Scottish response to an idiot who may or may not also be a big-headed, small-brained, manipulative director:
Oi, big boy, dinnae be a wee clipe, ya bawjaw, awa’ n boil yer heed.
It means, don’t be a tattle-tell snitch, you testicle, go away and boil your head (i.e. get lost).