Feb 9, 201509:56 AMMad @ Mgmt
with Walter Simson
What ‘Undercover Boss’ gets wrong
(page 2 of 2)
At a time when both political parties are expressing concern about income inequality, this show celebrates it in a particularly unseemly way. Get to know the CEO and you will be generously compensated. But toil in obscurity and you are out of luck.
What steams me most about Undercover Boss is that the company is used as a site to emphasize the wealth, power, and prestige of management. While wealth and power are logical consequences of career success, this show makes it seem that they are the only consequence. So the practical problems the workers bring up are never addressed. The boss rewards favored persons but never addresses the underlying business issues so fleetingly referred to in the course of the show. The company is just a backdrop for fake generosity, not a serious place where real work gets done.
I guess the reason this all bothers me so much is that I find that good managers don’t resort to selective and unseemly toadying. Good managers favor good business processes that work for all and don’t just look out for the welfare of preferred employees.
Some managers go so far as to make the jobs, and the lives, of employees easier. The CEO serves the company, not — as is so woefully portrayed on TV — the other way around. This is a powerful philosophy called servant leadership, which I’ll talk more about in my next post.
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