In management we trust

Do you trust this boss?

Do you trust this boss?

Your manager is a walking nightmare.  They demand absolute perfection each and every time, bark orders, require your absolute attention and dedication, even when you’re sleeping.  They belittle you in front of your peers for being human and messing up once in a while.  At their worst, they curse at you for simply showing up to work.  The dung beetle has an easier job than you.  So, what keeps you working for the manager from hell?

In the reality show Hell’s Kitchen, top chef Gordon Ramsay does all of the above and more.  So why do people sign on to work for him?  Since Ramsay is a famous brand name and promises winners a chance to run one of his new restaurants, I’d say people stick with it for the prestige and the possibility of taking their career to stratospheric levels.  But even burning ambition isn’t enough to keep some chefs around because the job, quite simply, isn’t worth the soul-crushing abuse.

Ramsay is interesting to watch for the entertainment value – hey, so long as it’s not me, it’s OK!  While I have no particular affection for this foul-mouthed gastro-god, I suddenly had new level of respect for him after last week’s episode.  Andrea, the chef who was certainly the next chef to be sent to exile, won a challenge which granted her immunity and guaranteed her a spot in the top three.  As you’ve likely seen in other reality shows, generally when a contestant gets immunity, their work often takes a nosedive as they suddenly don’t see the need for effort.  (Insert parallels to work-life here).  This case was no exception.  Andrea’s performance in the kitchen that evening was a stunning failure and she deserved the boot, regardless of her immunity.

At the end of the episode, Gordo called her to the line and proceeded to spit out his trademark uncensored feedback.  Just when you foreshadowed her chef’s jacket being hung without regard for her immunity, Ramsay says that “he is a man of his word” and sends Andrea back to work in the kitchen.

Wow, someone that keeps their word and can be trusted.  Now that’s someone I can work for.  Vote for.  Or become friends with.

I’m sure remaining AIG employees wished for that.  Sure, they eventually got their promised retention bonuses for sticking around and doing a thankless job, but they didn’t get it the easy way.  Even their CEO has sold them out, initially claiming that the bonus plan was necessary as a retention tool, but then later asking for the money back.  Tough as it is, I think sometimes managers have to swallow the backlash to keep employee trust and therefore keep their employees – even if it means having the American public throw tomatoes at you.

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