Want to really enrage your direct reports?
Ask them to do a daily status meeting.
There are few things that send me into a blind rage… well actually you know what… there are a lot of things that send me into a blind rage… :p …but one thing in particular that drives me batty is a manager who thinks they need to have everyone around them in the morning to update status on something.
Unless you are in the middle of a crunch-time product launch or something of equivalent crisis then you don’t need to ask me every morning what I’m doing.
Because everyone is just sitting there staring at you seething because they haven’t even gotten to their inbox yet. The health nuts have to go the bathroom because they’ve been hydrating since 4am. The smokers are starting to twitch and the compulsive eaters are already theorizing if they can make their afternoon candy portion out into the morning.
Meanwhile everyone can hear their phones ringing off the hook from down the hall.
My last corporate gig rocked because we didn’t have daily status meetings – we had task lists that we updated and that were collated automatically for management to see. We did have a weekly team call but that was because we were a small group plus in the middle of juggling sales, development, testing and clients.
A previous employer would have weekly status meetings which was basically my boss’s excuse to get everybody free donuts, chug coffee and force me to try and collate, staple and destroy acres of trees before the sun rose over Lake Michigan. This is the same boss that talked to his mom everyday. Loudly. Everyday. What a fruitcake. In the bad way. And our weekly status meetings were pointless because upper management never bought into our team’s purpose so it was basically spinning fairy tales of how we might possibly shoulda coulda woulda maybe implement a centralized system for yadda yadda.
My favorite though – the PENULTIMATE – is metameetings. Meetings to plan meetings. “Okay go to Calendar [we still called it Calendar even after moving to WinXP/Outlook] and pencil in some time to have a meeting to plan our big meeting – who has time?” When I was a kid I though Kafka was kidding. Nope. It is true. Bureaucracy does exist to perpetuate itself.