2 min read
11 Jan

Being nice… Thursday, 11 January 2024 

Kind of weird time to start a daily blog about IT Management, on a Thursday and halfway through the first month of the year. You can gather that I’m still on annual leave. It’s a new year, I am inclined to join the ranks of those proclaiming, "new year, new me," though history suggests my ambitious resolutions might wane sooner than anticipated. Life has a way of throwing curveballs, doesn't it? But here’s to daily blogs, every work week, until the end of 2024. 

I’m kicking off my daily blog about IT Management with a thought I got during my pilgrimage to the kitchen for a second cup of coffee. My wife thinks I should have one cup a day, but she doesn’t work in IT nor is she a doctor, so what does she know? I was reminded of a message I received from a new employee who reports to me. The employee in question is so cordial, professional, grateful, and…nice. 

I don’t know what made me think about it at 6am a day later, but I’ve had this experience over the years. People in general tend to treat you better because of your position. Holding a managerial position bestows upon you an undeserved and often overrated sense of royalty. Whether dealing with employees, team members, third-party vendors, or account managers, the treatment borders on the regal, perhaps even warranting Julius Malema's envy. 

I think the IT industry needs to put this behavior aside, nip it in the bud, kill it as we’d say (industry lingo, SAPS don’t follow me). It is because of this behavior that I attended less conferences than I usually do from 2021 to 2023. I can’t shake the uncomfortable feeling of being praised and treated like a freshly pampered poodle by peers I, frankly, do not know. I’ll write about conferences somewhere in the future, just know that I hate those name tags. 

The root of this behavior is equally disconcerting. Occupying a managerial perch implies wielding power, controlling budgets, and influencing directions and decisions. Every individual who places you on this pedestal comprehends this dynamic. Whether a direct report, peer, or external stakeholder, motivations vary – from genuine affability to the calculated need for your assistance. 

This behavior appears to change concerning race, age, and country, raising pertinent questions about its authenticity. My conviction remains that you don’t need to force yourself to treat others differently based on hierarchical positions or selling propositions. The belief that managers deserve a royal treatment has the potential to open doors to harassment, abuse, and corruption – a precarious path, to say the least. 

In my view, professional treatment should be uniform, irrespective of one's corporate stature, and I believe my new team member is just a genuinely good guy. However, I wonder if this perspective is naïve, considering the efforts managers invest to attain a position deserving of such reverence. No, not deserving, some demand this treatment. 

I’ll leave you with two quotes and one crazy article I recently read. A previous boss once told me, “If your manager enjoys cycling, you’d better get yourself a bicycle.” And, “be careful on who’s toes you step today, as it might be the ass you need to kiss tomorrow.” Now for that crazy article, the writer basically goes against everything I state and suggests you should embrace the suck

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