Management Perspective From a Non-Manager: Incentive

I work for two organizations. Each one has it’s own requirements, and sometimes they get really annoying, especially when I’m trying to get work done. I used to do these on time every time, but I recently stopped because I found that I had no incentive.

1) Weekly Reports

These are annoying. Every week, in addition to getting work done, I’m supposed to deliver a weekly report of what I’ve done. I did this every week, on-time, for months. Every time we had a team meeting, the entire group would get a butt-chewing for not turning in weekly reports. All sorts of incentives and threats were issued to the team in an effort to get everybody to turn in reports. At one point, if you didn’t do a report, you would have to buy each team member the soda of his or her choice.

I made sure that, no matter what, I got my report in every single week. Then I noticed that, not only was nobody else doing it, but I hadn’t gotten a single soda. I realized that not only did I have no incentive to turn in my reports, but there was also an empty threat on the other end. Since nobody else had been disciplined (except for the group butt-chewings), there was no point in doing the work. I pretty much quit turning in a weekly report. To hell with it. I was also a little bit upset at getting chewed out with the rest of the group for not turning in a report when I ACTUALLY DID TURN IT IN EVERY WEEK!

2) Timesheets

Same goes for timesheets. Every time I attend a team meeting, my manager bitches everybody out for not completing timesheets on time. At one meeting, I was getting tired of getting chewed out with everybody else even though my timesheet is always turned in on time. I commented, and was told to quit being so defensive. Get bent.

Managers, since most of you seem to have reached your position by not reading a single book or attending a single class or even having a single pep talk by a senior manager on how to actually manage people, here’s my mentoring tip to you: When you chew out the entire group for not doing something, please recognize the one or two people who do it right. Really, when you get involved in the group ass chewing, there’s no incentive to do it right anyway, except for pride or honor, but you can only milk that for so long.

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