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I call that "Gotcha! Management." There are two easy steps. First you either don't tell your people what you want or give confusing signals. Then when they guess wrong you pounce.

Clear expectations are the essential starting point for performance management. Verbal statements are only part of it. The other is to walk that talk. I love the following quote from Howell Raines describing Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.

"Coach Bryant had an idea about how a man ought to act and if you watched him, you could figure it out."


Great point and great quote - so right on!

"Gotcha! Management" - what an apt description!

Thanks for reading and sharing!

My pet peeve is managers who have a problem with an employee but the employee doesn't know it. The problem is much more with the manager is these cases.


I would agree with you. I think some of these managers have convinced themselves that they are being "silent" out of compassion, but it is ultimately a big disservice to the employee.

Thanks for reading and sharing a comment!

I brought up this point in a previous post regarding managers who believe their best employees are those who "show initiative."

Are we talking about the same thing---managers who don't thnk that part of their job is to provide direction and wait for employees to make the first move so they can absolve themselves of responsibility, if things go wrong, and suggest the "obvious" correct action?


I think (or maybe I hope) that there is a difference between expecting employees to show initiative and expecting employees to read their managers' minds as to what is required of them. Although - as you point out - there may be no difference in the minds of some managers, and therein lies the problem!

Thanks for the comment!

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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