Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Sunday, March 06, 2005
  Why are you in charge?

There is a truth that becomes more true to me everyday. It started dawning on me little by little as I was a teen, and I become more and more convinced of it every day. It's this, people are put positions of authority for many reasons, but not because they are intelligent or know what they are doing. Many times, exactly the opposite is true.

Now there are many different factors that determine which people are made supervisors, probably more than I can name. But I think one of the most common reasons is that they have an atmosphere of confidence around them. They act like they know what they are doing. This is fine, and makes perfect sense to the rest of the world. I have been in several positions of authority, and I soon learned that you can't lead if you are always whining that you don't know what to do, or never have a plan. I learned that there are time that you need to act like you know what you are doing even when you don't. You need to inspire confidence in those that are working for you.

But where this goes wrong is when a supervisor starts believing that he really does know what he is doing. These kind of supervisors believe their own publicity, they believe in their image and not in what's inside of them. They stop seeking the truth about their organization and themselves, and just blindly thrash about like a bull in a china shop and then wonder why they have so much turnover.

I'm not writing to just bad-mouth management, I'm writing to ask why there are so few good ones. To be a good manager is a great accomplishment. It is a set of skills that applies psychology,sociology,algebra, and all types of knowledge, but most importanly, plain 'ole common sense. I have had good managers, and I kick myself for having left those jobs. A good manager makes even the shittiest job a joy. I remember coming to work in the morning happy to be there, I remember laughing and joking with my manager, and going out to lunch with them. I remember feeling genuinely sorry when I let him down.

If you are a manager, ask yourself "Why am I here?". Did you get there because of someone you knew? Did you impress them with your height, good hair and Armani suit? Or are you one of those rare managers who isn't just trying to impress everyone into doing what you say, but is instead taking the time to build relationships with your people?

It's not too late to be the better of the two. You can be open and caring without seeming weak. You can learn from them without losing their respect, in fact you may gain their respect. They might work harder for you, if they had confidence that you had their best interests at heart and did not just see them as flesh-covered wrenches or in my case, simply answering machines that can type.

Thanks for reading,


I like this AC... living in hope!
I'd say there are several reasons.

For instance, often I am left wondering why a retail store or a restaurant is so terribly managed. The trouble is, if a manager is any good at managing a place like that, they are quickly promoted and moved to higher positions--thus the only people left at low level management are people who are too stupid to actually manage anything.

The same is true as people move up: the very best keep advancing and people who are just able to keep things from going to hell don't move on.

And the other thing at work here is that I don't think necessarily the people who are good leaders make good followers. This causes a problem because someone who is a good leader may not do the requisite brown nosing to ever move into a leadership role.

Often then the people who are promoted into a leadership role are those who have manipulated there way to the top. They may be good at brown nosing and back stabbing, but that doesn't make them a good leader.

Machiavelli would point out that the difference between a leader and a great leader is someone who finds a balance.
I really popped in to say I like the new cog logo but while I was waiting for my dinosaur of a computer to react I remembered something. I think it's called the Peter principle and it states that within every heirarchy people ascend to the level of their own incompetence, or something like that. If you're good at task A you move up, you're adequate at task B you move up, you're just able to get by at task C, you stay there.Hence, crap managers.
Just wanted you to know that your comments impressed me enough to give them to someone at my library who is taking a graduate school class in management!
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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.

Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.

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"One must know oneself, if this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life, and there is nothing better." -Blaise Pascal

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