Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reflections from a mentor

In one of my regular e mail discussions with one of my greatest mentors he gave me a wonderful insight about how people can be abused in the modern world of management. I have his permission to reproduce his comments on my Simplicity Blog and for me it is an absolute honour. I have learned a lot from this man – his opinions are ALWAYS worth listening to.

Here goes – By the way I’ve changed names and initials to protect identities:

“I've just had a very sad conversation with Jane. She, just like you and I were in those far off days before regime change, is absolutely passionate about this place and getting it right for the patient.

It looks very much as if she is being side-lined and seconded to some non-post.

Ever since JC left and successor appointed, this organisation has been slipping backwards to the behaviour and ethics that prevailed in the short fat bloke's reign that you and I remember so well - nothing so overt or aggressive just insidious undermining dishonesty/uncertainty/lack of trust. Jane is not the first that it has happened to and no doubt won't be the last.

It got me thinking about how much we take our cues from our leaders and the impact, either direct or by implication they have on our work no matter how diligent we are.

Jane was postulating about what she actually achieved and might it be better, or at least no worse, should she not be around. But like any leader I tried to reassure her that she sets the tone; its intangible, its unwritten, unquantifiable. An organisation reflects its leader's behaviour, standards, pace and direction.

JC, for all his faults, brought a different and more agreeable feel to this organisation after the short fat bloke was ousted. I don't really have to tell you that. Just wanted a rant at the injustice of it but again, as I've told Shelly, you and I both ended up in a far better place.”

Thank you Mr Mentor!


Unknown said...

Irrelevant leaders = messy organizations.

Trevor Gay said...

Put simply and wonderfully Felix - thank you so much Amigo :-)

Mark JF said...

While it's generally true that an organisation reflects its leader's behaviour, sometimes changes have to come from the bottom. It might be democracy in a dictatorship through to the culture of a small organisation, if there are enough good people willing to stand up for what they believe in, they can influence or make change happen.

My advice to your friend would be: whatever happens and whatever other people do, you must do the right thing. Don't compromise your standards just because other people do. Show your team and your peers that you still do the right thing, the right way. Show dignity and integrity always - it might seem hard but it will eventually win out.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Mark

PEOPLE ‘below’ (how I hate that word) the leader always win over bad leaders.

It sometimes takes a long time.

The ‘regime change’ my colleague talks of is a great example. It was a few years ago when he and I were colleagues We all eventually got fed up with unfairness and much worse things including bullying, nepotism and downright nastiness at work. Eventually that leader fell on his own sword and no one was sorry to see him go.

I recall also at that time I had a boss who kept a piece of paper in his desk drawer and on it was handwritten one word ….. 'TIME' .... so simple and so true.

Another great Guru of mine Professor George Giarchi always told me 'This too will pass'

The key as you say is never to get dragged into the nasty, unethical behaviour and to keep our professionalism, dignity and respect.

J.KANNAN said...


With "Irresponsible & mediocre Managers" the end result will certainly be "erratic and elusive".......undoubtedly. That's why the management should consist of people with fine Leadership qualities to commensurate with the famous quote by Management Guru Peter F Drucker...............

“Management is doing things right.
Leadership is doing right things”


Ken said...

Very well said Mark - thats exactly what I have been telling her!

Another interesting point arising from Mark's comments: whilst its true that good people have to stand up for what they believe in to effect change from bottom up, the situation has to plumb the depths of discontent/dissent/disrepute before rebellion takes place.That level has not been reached yet in this organisation but we are on the slippery slope & those who have experienced it in the past can recognise it.It did in the short fat bloke's reign & how many person's lives & careers were blighted before the silent majority had experienced enough? I guess it's similar to what is happening in the Middle East now.

Rocky said...

i think the thing that makes a mentor so important is that they have been there and done that. the mentors I have been fortunate enough to be around have had a lot of success, but their fair share of failure as well. I have always appreciated the honesty that my mentors have had about their failures and the humility they have had with their success.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Rocky - Ken certianly ticks all the boxes you suggest - hope you are keeping well sir!