Mary Budd’s Guide to Managing
Ever So Fabulously Well
These are the distillations of many years of working with
managers in all sorts of businesses. Some rules are just
universal. Here they are.
Give everything a nice tight deadline so that your team has no choice but to work a 60 hour week. Wave cheerily as
you leave the office having done your own 35 hours.
Promise the earth to senior managers and clients. Even if you have no idea what will be involved in getting the job
done. Everyone can just work a bit harder.
Keep your project plans vague. Then you can get really annoyed when the result is not what you wanted.
Above all, never write anything down. If you have any special requirements, don’t tell anyone until the project is well
under way. It’s nice to keep people challenged.
If it's really, really urgent, go and interrupt every 10 minutes or so to ask how it's going. That’s always a great aid to
If you have to cancel everyone’s holiday to get something urgent done, that would be a good time to book your own
fortnight in the Maldives. After all, everyone else will be in.
Budgets and Financial Planning
Try to avoid telling anyone what their budget is. Knowledge is power, and you don’t want anyone having
any of that, do you?
If managers do have access to their budgets, try halving them arbitrarily from time to time. Listen the wails
about redundancies and cancelled projects with scarcely-concealed amusement. Smirking is permissible, but
do try not to laugh.
If you can, avoid deciding the budget until the end of the financial year rather than setting it at the
beginning. 20:20 hindsight is very helpful in making you look omniscient to your bosses. What foresight you
Make everyone fill out detailed and complicated self-appraisal forms but never get round to holding any appraisal meetings.
Set completely unrealistic targets and then mark people down at appraisal time because they didn't hit them. That’ll keep them on
Never ask people if they are challenged enough or want to take on more responsibility. They might think you’re interested.
OK, Louise isn’t really up to the job, but she has nice hair so keep giving her good appraisals.
Never train anybody on anything. Why make it easy for them to get another job?
Try and avoid giving feedback wherever possible. If you’re really pushed into it, keep it delightfully vague. Don’t bother about
finding specific examples. “Everybody says that you are difficult to work with“ should be enough to unsettle your appraisee
thoroughly. For at least the next year.
Keep it simple; focus on the negatives and the weak spots. They should know about the good stuff already – after all, they’re still
here, aren’t they?
If you succeed in making the appraisee cry, send him or her straight back out into the office without delay. It’ll improve your
reputation as an appraiser no end. You may even find that your staff avoid you. Result!
People skills are so important. Always interrupt when someone is talking. You always know best, after all.
Avoid looking people in the eye wherever possible. It only encourages them. Fix your gaze elsewhere - women’s
boobs are always a safe bet.
Of course that text that’s just arrived deserves your full attention. Just ignore the person that you were talking to
while you read it. It’ll show him where he ranks in your personal pecking order, which is always useful.
Talk more than you listen. Talk a lot. Especially when everyone is up to their eyes in work and needs to concentrate.
Consistency is for losers. Always tell Pete off, but don’t bother picking John up when he makes the same mistake.
Always share your own problems. In detail and at length. Nobody else has any, so they’ll find them fascinating.
Oh, and stress is for wimps. Make sure that everyone knows that.
Always remember to tell people off in front of the entire team. If you must hand out praise, make sure that nobody
else knows about it. Particularly not your boss.
Go out to lunch all the time with the little group of people that you like. Leave out everyone else. Who needs team
Recruit a nice cheap junior intern to take the place of an expensive seasoned professional and expect the same results
from the team.
Hold all team meetings in the pub. Just ignore Mohammed’s complaints….he’ll come round eventually.
Give everyone rude nicknames and insist that they have no sense of humour if they object. Audrey secretly likes being
referred to as “Chubs”. No, really.
Jane can take an hour and a half for lunch every day because she’s prettier than Paul.
“Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions” is always a good line to use on all occasions. You could even have a
little sign made for your desk. Use it even if the other person is too junior or specialist to have all the information they
need. After all, you’re not there to solve problems or make things easier for people, are you?
Make up all your policies on the hoof. It keeps them fresh. Never, ever write anything down. Someone
might hold you to it.
Don’t allow access to Facebook and Twitter because it's not "required for work". Especially if you are a
digital media company.
Buy a complete set of HR policies from a specialist supplier so that you can say you’ve got them in case
anyone asks. No need to read them. Keep the Staff Handbook safely locked in your desk drawer at all times.
You’ve paid good money for it, after all.
Let a few people work from home whenever they want to, but don’t give any reasons for it. Otherwise
people might feel that they can ask too.
Remember that there are exceptions to every rule. Especially for people with nice bottoms.
Don’t waste time worrying about different cultural expectations. What works in Basingstoke
will work everywhere. What works in Cincinnati will definitely work everywhere.
If the other person’s English isn’t very good, just talk more loudly. The fool will understand
That’s all you need to know.
Be creative when making redundancies. Tell people they’re fired over the office loudspeaker. Or
cancel their entry passes and get Reception to redirect them to HR when they come in. Or just
remove their desks overnight. No point in treating them with respect – after all, they’re leaving.
Always say “This hurts me more than it hurts you”. They’ll definitely believe that. You could even
shed a small tear to add verisimilitude, but don’t overdo it.
Always be clear. A pointing finger and a loud “You’re fired!” is delightfully unambiguous. Watch
Alan Sugar and learn.
Don’t bother to learn the law. It’s all Euro-twaddle and politically correct nonsense anyway.
If all else fails, spend more on lawyers to defend your reasons for not paying someone than it would
have cost to pay them.
Mary started her career as a personnel management trainee
with Shell. Since 1993 she has run her own consultancy
practice, working with a wide variety of public and private sector
organisations of all sizes.
Mary offers advice, training and coaching and practical, handson guidance to organisations. She believes that having fun is
very much underrated as a management concept.