Category Archives: funny stories

32 Dumbest statements by a Manager


This is a guest post by  | September 9, 2011
Here’s a list of real-life remarks that real-life bosses said in real-life business situations.  If I recall correctly, most of these came from the personal experience of my good friend Larry Jacobs, although some may have come from other lists on the web. In any case, the list contains some true classics:

  1. “Am I the only one around here with half a brain?!”
  2. “I know my plan won’t work, but don’t disagree with me in front of others.”
  3. “I only say those things to look tough. I’m reshaping my image for advancement.”
  4. “I tried to e-mail you to tell you that my e-mail wasn’t working, but my e-mail wasn’t working.”
  5. “If you are on schedule, then your plan was not aggressive enough. If you are behind schedule, you must be goofing off.”
  6. You don’t want a union! I know I don’t pay you much per hour, but I give you lots of hours. If you want more money, just work more hours! A union will take that flexibility from you.”
  7. “I’m sorry if I ever gave you the impression your input would have any effect on my final decision.”
  8. “We’ve experienced dramatic increases in our long distance bills. In the future, please exercise restraint concerning long distance phone calls, faxes and emails.”
  9. “I’ve noticed that our ‘cost of goods sold’ rise whenever we experience greater sales. What can we do to reverse this trend?”
  10. “What this department lacks is leadership.”
  11. “Don’t worry, give it a try. You have nothing to fear but failure, demotion and termination.”
  12. “I’m getting a new company car new week. Please call the dealer and ask him to delay the delivery until after Wednesday’s layoffs. I want to appear sensitive.”
  13. “Your report shows that 65% of our customers live outside the Unites States. Well, where are the rest of our customers? Pay attention to these details in the future.”
  14. “This marketing campaign will have a worldwide focus.”
  15. “Bonuses in my department are rewarded to team players who have demonstrated an appreciation for my leadership.”
  16. “I don’t want to force this decision on you. It would be much easier if you just agree.”
  17. “I’ve already made up my mind, but I am eager to hear everything you have to say on the matter.”
  18. “Next time, if you leave me an important voice mail message, do the right thing, call me and let me know it’s there.”
  19. “Fairness is applied evenly, according to my rules.”
  20. “I know there is a communication problem in my department. I just don’t want to talk about it.”
  21. “We have too many unproductive meetings. Please put aside next Wednesday to attend an all-employee staff meeting to discuss this issue.”
  22. “I know what the research reports says, but I have to go with my gut on this one.”
  23. “I don’t like to micro-manage, but I need to know everything that’s going on.”
  24. “Okay you bunch of cry babies, what’s this I hear about bad employer-employee relations?”
  25. “I know that I am great leader. This department, however, needs help learning to follow.”
  26. “Just because you’re right more often than me, doesn’t mean you’ll be a better manager.”
  27. “We do things democratically in my department…and I’m the ruler.”
  28. “Whenever you have an idea, discuss it with me first, and if I feel it is a good idea, I’ll tell the others. You must learn to let me get credit for your good ideas. That’s what team work is all about.”
  29. “If it wasn’t for you, I’d be the shining star in this department.”
  30. “I think you prefer your idea JUST because it’s better than mine.”
  31. “It has come to may attention that your salary is well below the industry average. Therefore I am changing your title.”
  32. “I threw your suggestion away. Only managers can make suggestions.”

Using Stories to Make Your Point

The following is a guest post from Dave Marr at t2 Managment Training in the UK.  t2 is a specialist management consultancy, established to provide strategic leadership training and development for company directors and management training for their teams.   t2 is one of only a small number of leadership and management development providers to have achieved the prestigious Training Quality Standard.

Using Stories in Order to Make Your Point as a Manager

Prolific leaders and high profile managers have often got a few stories to tell in order to get their point across effectively to their staff.

Why are stories effective?

Stories are processed by a different part of the brain to that which we use to follow instructions. Most people have an aversion to being told what to do, but stories can subdue those feelings by giving us indirect instructions that we don’t mind following. A good story often has a moral or a lesson to be learnt and it is this which drives many people to listen and follow suggestions.

Points and examples work in the same way too. They give people information about how things are supposed to work in addition to what is expected of them. This gives clear focus.

From time to time, you might hear a great story. Try to remember the key points and how it might benefit your staff. Then you can pull it out of the hat when you need to motivate and empower your staff to follow specific instructions or to hit a particular deadline. A good storyteller is always at an advantage, but as long as you remember the main points of the story and the point you are making, you’ll be fine.

You can also find a lot of resources online on how to tell a good story and get your point across effectively.  Find some opportunities to practice this technique. You can use previous employees or employers as examples if they are relevant to your anecdote. This will also help you relate to your own story if you use people you know. As you proceed with the story make sure you integrate those all-important indirect suggestions (in addition to the desired outcome).

Be careful, when you begin relating your stories, that you don’t repeat them or explain too much about them. The power of storytelling is to allow your staff to take away the moral or contents of the story and think about it from their own personal perspective. Ambiguity is often more powerful than direct suggestion and can really make a difference to how your staff perceive you and how they work.

Very often people will ‘listen’ to a story’s message that they won’t listen to in another form. The great thing about a story is that it motivates and gives you something to aim for – if they could do it, wouldn’t can’t you?!

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Change management by monkeys (a parable)

This is a guest post from Freek Vermeulen

The Monkey Story

The experiment involved 5 monkeys, a cage, a banana, a ladder and, crucially, a water hose.
The 5 monkeys would be locked in a cage, after which a banana was hung from the ceiling with, fortunately for the monkeys (or so it seemed…), a ladder placed right underneath it.Of course, immediately, one of the monkeys would race towards the ladder, intending to climb it and grab the banana. However, as soon as he would start to climb, the sadist (euphemistically called “scientist”) would spray the monkey with ice-cold water. In addition, however, he would also spray the other four monkeys…When a second monkey was about to climb the ladder, the sadist would, again, spray the monkey with ice-cold water, and apply the same treatment to its four fellow inmates; likewise for the third climber and, if they were particularly persistent (or dumb), the fourth one. Then they would have learned their lesson: they were not going to climb the ladder again – banana or no banana.
In order to gain further pleasure or, I guess, prolong the experiment, the sadist outside the cage would then replace one of the monkeys with a new one. As can be expected, the new guy would spot the banana, think “why don’t these idiots go get it?!” and start climbing the ladder. Then, however, it got interesting: the other four monkeys, familiar with the cold-water treatment, would run towards the new guy – and beat him up. The new guy, blissfully unaware of the cold-water history, would get the message: no climbing up the ladder in this cage – banana or no banana.

When the beast outside the cage would replace a second monkey with a new one, the events would repeat themselves – monkey runs towards the ladder; other monkeys beat him up; new monkey does not attempt to climb again – with one notable detail: the first new monkey, who had never received the cold-water treatment himself (and didn’t even know anything about it), would, with equal vigour and enthusiasm, join in the beating of the new guy on the block.

When the researcher replaced a third monkey, the same thing happened; likewise for the fourth until, eventually, all the monkeys had been replaced and none of the ones in the cage had any experience or knowledge of the cold-water treatment.

Then, a new monkey was introduced into the cage. It ran toward the ladder only to get beaten up by the others. Yet, this monkey turned around and asked “why do you beat me up when I try to get the banana?” The other four monkeys stopped, looked at each other slightly puzzled and, finally, shrugged their shoulders: “Don’t know. But that’s the way we do things around here”…

I got this story from my colleague, the illustrious Costas Markides. It reminded him – and me – of quite a few of the organisations we have seen. Over the years, all firms develop routines, habits and practices, which we call the firm’s “organisational culture”. As I am sure you know, these cultures can be remarkably different, in terms of what sort of behaviour they value and what they don’t like to see, and what they punish. Always, these habits and conventions have been developed over the course of many years. Very often, nobody actually remembers why they were started in the first place… Quite possibly, the guy with the water hose has long gone.

Don’t just beat up the new monkey – whether it is a new employee, a recent acquisition or a partner; their questioning of “the way we do things round here” may actually be quite a valid one.

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Applying for a job? Clean up your facebook

Looking to impress someone in a job interview?

Many potential employees do not think about the type of impression they leave on their facebook account – I have seen several horror stories in the past few weeks.  Here are a few highlights  discussed within my circle of business peers:

1) A recent job candidate passed a telephone interview and two personal interviews.  During final negotiations on salary, he posted a comment on his facebook wall: “Going to start a new job at XYZ company.  Guess I’ll get my desk and then wait to see how long I’m in this crappy job before I get screwed”.   The HR manager read this facebook post as part of final due diligence – he didn’t get the job.

2) When recruiting for an executive assistant in a very conservative organization, 5 of the 12 shortlist candidates were immediately eliminated due to inappropriate pictures of partying/drinking on their open facebook pages.  Another candidate ranted about her ex-husband with foul and nasty comments.  Still another had wall posts with sexual play-by-play commentary (just google “embarassing facebook”  images for some hilarious facebook screenshots that would be unprintable in this blog).

3) After a job interview, a candidate posted comments on a friend’s facebook wall with derogatory (bigoted) impressions about the interviewer.  Guess who read the facebook post?

4) A young person needing rental accommodation applied for a roommate spot in a high end complex.  Her facebook page showed wild partying pictures and grunge preferences.  This turned off the prospective roommates, who backed out of the shared accommodation deal.

Remember:  your Facebook Posts, Photos and Wall are a permanent record. Your friends, your associations, your comments all contribute to your persona and reputation.  Make sure you always present at your best!

Suck it up, Buttercup! and Other Office Sayings……

One of my project teams had a portion of their meeting room whiteboard sectioned off with a list of interesting and amusing sayings.  I loved meetings in that room because the list was evolving and changing, reflecting phrases that mirrored the themes and traditions of our company or a particular phase of our 3 year project.

Some of the more memorable sayings and their translation:

“Suck it up, Buttercup!” (Quit whining and just get the job done.)

“Git ‘R Done!” (a theme in every aspect of our operations, ALWAYS meet the deadline)

“Plaiting fog” (These concepts are too complex for folks to grasp and get their minds around)

“Something for 1 purpose, used for another” (Mistakes or miscommunications from using facts from other areas of the company out of context)

“Hit me with your best shot” (Okay, tell me your worst problem, I know we can fix it)

“DFQ” (Dumb freakin’ question)

“You’ve been Meryle’d” (You went into the boss’s office with a question and came out with more work to do)

“Get out of the weeds” (Look at the bigger picture, not just the detail)

“Analysis Paralysis” (We are analyzing too much, it’s time to make a decision)