Sunday, 11 December 2005

Don't ask that question

Managerial Integrity is tops
The last week had me in two interviews prospecting for permanent employment once again.
However, with some hindsight, I realize that I have gain knowledge about a lot of things in terms of experience and lessons but may have failed in the application of those ideas to subsequent circumstances.
In the last fourteen years of employment in Europe 8 have been permanent contracts which exuded promise at the onset and ended in disappointment at the conclusion.
Having participated in an employee satisfaction which was part of a dissertation project of a fellow graduate student on an MBA degree, it was interesting to note the options that mattered to me.
In the end, it transpired that the one core reason why I left those jobs boiled down to the simple lack of integrity of my managers.
Untruthfulness, concealment, cajoling, threatening, blatant lying, dishonest dealing and dirty politicking were some of the traits of the managers who in their minds thought they were being good managers.
They have lead many of a feeble disposition to mental and health problems without any consideration that lives and livelihoods might be at stake.
In one case, it was about a manager who substituted himself for my training place, another tried to persuade of opportunities he could not offer to maintain interest and loyalty, even one had mastered the art of lying such that one was embarrassed for oneself and him too.
Potential over abilities
Anyway, I have had one manager who made an amazing difference to the work-life of his team.
Whilst he was well aware of everyone’s capability he did well to exploit potential, placing challenges in ways that not only developed the individual but gelled the team.
Alas! At times management is perhaps more congenital than contagious, who knows, some people might really strive to manage their team than herd them in a bull run.
Two interviews cross purposes
The first interview was conducted with such candour and honesty, they had a lot to offer those who sought or had little and could not offer much to self-starters who have done that work of really charting out their careers.
That could easily be a foible, I learnt with some discouragement.
The other interview ended on the note of being asked to commit to employment when there were clear indication of when the process would be completed or if it would be successful.
Biting my lips with restraint that failed woefully one could only remonstrate at what was seemingly bullying or a basic lack of decent interviewing skill. In fact, it was like interviewing a doctor from the perspective of the hospital cleaner.
10 years after the 5 year question
Where I however failed to carry over a lesson from times past was with the question of what I saw myself doing in 5 years time.
It is probably one of the worst questions to ask anyone at interview, but I am learning and still learning of how to deal with it.
This is the new perspective – layout what you see yourself doing in 5 years in the context of that job and organisation.
Then offer to ask the same question – Does the organization have the kind of career development that would view what I have said as achievable in less than that time and offer even more challenging opportunities that I have not yet considered or thought of?
Basically, this exerts the same level of soul-searching in the person, the organisation and that person’s relationship in that organisation.
The talk on interviews has only just begun…

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