It was an unseasonably warm September day. Sally Gulliver had opened the window immediately above my shelf, which meant I could hear the conversation she was having over lunch with colleagues in the atrium below.
Sally Gulliver often did this. She would get her tray of food and plonk herself down with some people she didn’t really know, and ask them questions over the catering staff’s latest attempt at sausages.
‘Listen guys,’ said Sally, struggling fitfully with coins of gristle, ‘We’re looking at how we lead here at Global Blancmange. Can I ask, what kind of leadership would you prefer to see from the Management Team?’
I could hear each of them thinking, three floors below. I could also smell the heady aroma of profound and hard-won cynicism. ‘I’d like the kind of leadership that lets me get on with my job. The number of managers who are obviously doing certain things just so it looks like they personally have an impact… whether it’s the right thing to do or not….’
‘We have too many seagulls…’
‘Seagull managers, you know – they fly in from nowhere, dump on you from a great height then fly out again.’
‘Leadership’s what you do when everything else fails, isn’t it?’
‘You look at our Management team and you think, this lot really put the “er….” in “leadership”’
‘I’ll tell you what I really admire in a leader.’
Sally Gulliver leaned forward eagerly. ‘What’s that?’
‘The ability to quit bothering us during our lunch-hour, and go and make some real changes that will actually help this organisation.’
Sally Gulliver flushed scarlet like sausage meat.
Next Friday: It’s Like Leadership, Only More So
Bingleby was confiding in Richard Goff
Seagull management - this is by far funniest prank about management that I have ever heard, that was so funny! Thank you for this lovely article, I truly enjoyed reading it!
Janet Peters, creator of free software that can help you to edit a picture http://pictureeditorfree.org/
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