9.01.2005

RANT: Why is the boss the last one to know?

Elephant and Mouse were best friends. One day Elephant said,

"Mouse, let's have a party!"

Animals gathered from far and near. They ate, and drank, and sang, and danced. And nobody celebrated more exuberantly than the Elephant. After it was over, Elephant exclaimed,

"Mouse, did you ever go to a better party? What a blast!"

But Mouse didn't answer.

"Where are you?"

Elephant called. Then he shrank back in horror. There at his feet lay the Mouse, his body ground into the dirt -- smashed by the exuberance of his friend, the Elephant.

Such a dance by the boss is often feared by a team lead when his project is slipping behind schedule. He inclines to go to the boss with this status update, but he's afraid that the boss will instead take it as an opportunity to step in, even though he's capable of making it work.

Worse, the boss's dance will make him look incompetent in front of others, preempt his function, diminish his authority, and foul up his other plans. After all, solving such problems is exactly what he's there for.

And you know what the team lead ends up doing: afraid of the elephant dance, all the dirt gets swept under the rug (for as long as the team lead thinks he can solve it alone.)

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got

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