April 27; Who Else Has the Answer—Besides Your Manager?;
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Four: Relationships; 27 April

Do not be quick with your mouth,

do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.

God is in heaven and you are on earth,

so let your words be few.

Ecclesiastes 5:2

Who Else Has the Answer—Besides Your Manager?

Economy

“I’ve got five children at home; I don’t need any at work.” Years ago Your Business Professor was working in the real (non-academic) world and was getting pestered with requests for information all day long. Just like children, staffers were asking me questions non-stop.

That open-door nonsense didn’t quite work as advertised. My staff actually walked in. Yes, I had an open door “policy” — but whatever rubbish I had published — I really didn’t mean it. Who knew that anybody and everybody would just blitz into my backfield at any time and start yammering. I had secretly hoped that all those secretaries outside my office (especially that one who looked like a linebacker) would stop staffers from breaking my line of scrimmage.

But no. I was an amateur. I didn’t know how to manage my relationships with my direct reports. I was getting sacked.

So a staffer would interrupt me and say, “Boss, I got a quick question…”

I would wince.

The questions are always quick. It’s the answers that would take so long.

I though was doing that ‘plan-organize-lead-control’ stuff of management according to all the latest business fashions. But I had not learned to do it right. And business school taught me wrong.

So for hours at a stretch I would be tackled by a series of stupid, or, shall we say, redundant questions.

Young people come to this “ask the boss first” nonsense honestly. They are being advised by helicoptering parents and indoctrinated by the education system. (Learning should never be entrusted to academia.)

One of the most popular directives by academics and other business amateurs is,

There are no stupid questions.

This is, of course, a lie.

So Your Business Professor has devised a simple two-part solution to eliminate time-wasting intrusions.

Managers: do not accept stupid questions.

Direct Reporters: do not ask stupid questions.

We should stop to think before bothering the boss. Oddly, the staffer can ask the same, identical question: to a boss; or to a peer. What makes a question foolish depends not on the content—but on whom you ask.

The inquiries, “How many vacation days do we have?” or “What is our healthcare insurance” can be found on the company website or from Your New Best Friend over in human resources. These questions to your manager are a waste of his time.

Only bother the boss if you cannot, absolutely cannot, find the answer anywhere else on the planet. The boss is not your first stop answer-person. The supervisor should be the last place for information and maybe not even then. Don’t ever waste your manager’s time.

The scripture tells us to be careful of needless words and wordy repetitions in prayer.

The manager is not, of course, to be prayed to as we would to the Creator. But just as we are considerate of what we pray for and the words used, we should also be mindful of our words and time with our manager.

We pray with an economy of words to Our Father who art in Heaven. We should not prey upon managers with too many idle words.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

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