I am a terrible programmer, while I often call myself a code monkey even this is generous at times. I don’t ever pretend that I can program anything of importance I have over the last few weeks been trying to get better at programming.

Why would any sane person do this? I’m glad you asked. One day I hope to be an IT manager of some description. I unlike so many managers I know, fell that you can never ask someone who you are in charge of to do something you are unprepared to do. Now obviously this all breaks down when you get into specialist markets like programming. But this doesn’t mean that you should though your hands up in the air and say that you are there to manage and the others are there to work.

It is this kind of thinking that leads to management having one language and underlings another. This also contributes to a lot of the tension between management layers and employee layers in general. I remember the first time when working in retail I was the manager on duty and I had to make a casual employee do something they didn’t want to. The thing that got us though was simply I told him “I’ve had to do this before, here ill do one show you how it’s done the way I want then you have to do the others. I’m not dumping this job on you I am needed elsewhere at the moment.” The difference was that now we had clear expectations and the employee understood that it wasn’t just me being lazy it was that we needed to get everything done and I had the suggested plan.

This won’t always work but I can guarantee you that you get a lot more respect as a manager if you clearly communicate why and how and then lead by example. Thus leads me back to learning how to dabble in programming. While I doubt I could ever show up anyone who has actively decided that they are a professional programmer I can know when someone is telling me incorrect information or when scheduling is in conflict with reality. It is all about speaking in multiple languages.

Another thing to note is its not just about having correct information, sometimes it’s about trust. Many times respect breaks down as there is a presumption that the other is lazy or out to get them. This in my experience often comes from incorrect KPI’s which is a whole topic onto itself, but suffice it to say if you think you boss is making you do idiotic things which slow you down from getting your job done. On the flip side employees who don’t get efficiency and that their small part is working toward a greater whole. In both cases we have a lack of understanding and while you may never be able to eliminate this having someone who thinks you understand your position makes all the difference when working together effectively.

This could explain why so many University group projects are destined to fail as we don’t get much perspective on each other and what little perspective we get is often either to impress or to merely pass the course. So do yourself a favour next time your frustrated by a superior or an underling and ask is it the job that makes them act this way or are they just an ass.


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