April Happenings 6

April Happenings part 6

 
I've been watching a series about BA the airline , not the sheep, with horror, it seems that the management attitude towards the cabin crew is as bad as ever.
Let me tell you a little story of mine.
Coming off a night flight from Delhi , where we joined the flight in the early hours, I stopped over at the Kremlin , the name we called the HQ building. As I was tired with a itchy head, I left my cap in the car , and entered the building. In the lift a manager asked me what fleet I worked on , and ordered me to report to the manager. So after I did my business I entered this chaps office, and sitting behind the desk was an overweight man in a sweaty white shirt and no tie, who demanded to know why I was improperly dressed!!!
As I tried to explain he shouted that I was just a number in the company . On my way out I pondered whether I should report the incident to Personnel, but judged that they were probably all mates . A couple of years later, after I had left, they had the first Cabin Crew strike in history , partly to do with management attitude.
 
To be fair BOAC was a nationalised company ( profitability was unimportant ) and nobody was hijacked in those days, aircraft were smaller and the crew had long slips ( stopovers ) . A round-the-world roster took three weeks with five days off in either Tokyo , Honolulu or SF . On the London to New York run in the first class (Monarch) we offered Afternoon Tea in a gold teapot , and there was enough caviar and smoked salmon over for me to take home for the cat. It really  was a glamorous job then.
 
So what's going on? 
When I worked for the Blood Transfusion Service in the nineties they introduced a management style called Empowerment /total quality . We had wonderful workshops, it felt a bit like being back at Eselan Institute Big Sur Calif. (without the sex) The idea being that the employees should take more responsibility , and kind of self manage . Nobody thought it would work, and it slowly petered out. So what we seem to have is a return to CONTROL Management.
Controlling .
To put it simply this is a form of infantilisation . Treating people like children , patronising . You can catch yourself doing this when you start to speak slowly .or look at people as idiots. 
The antidote to control is trust, but that requires giving up a lot of power. And behind power is fear of loss of control.
Interestingly children tend to want to have things their own way, so the control freak seems to have regressed  to an earlier more insecure place.
 
Personally I consider the controlling tendency as the biggest obstacle to liberation, personal as well as society in general. Dictatorship would be an extreme example, and in the TV show the constant awarding of either penalty points or giving of approval ensures that people are kept in line, under the threat of dismissal. Most of us are conditioned to be " work slaves" , to keep our heads down, and follow authority .
The pay off is a more prosperous and orderly society , and that's hard to argue with.
 
 I've said it before , take your power back . PLG Tony 
Ps I thought I would send this piece to BA , I did get a confused reply from Press dept.
Who wondered what the question was ? 
April Happenings 5 (that's Waterloo sunset)
April Happenings 7

Comments 1

 
Guest - Rob on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 19:03

Greetings Tony,

A nice thoughtful piece you've written. Most of my experience of management
in industry was of egocentric and often arrogant men with lots of energy and
often a dim view of the ability of their subordinates. There were exceptions
of course and they were a joy to work for. The Blood Transfusion Empowerment
programme you described is also interesting. These sorts of initiatives
usually fail because employees perceive them to be ploys to wring greater
effort from them without due reward and see that it doesn't really alter
their position in the power structure.

Greetings Tony, A nice thoughtful piece you've written. Most of my experience of management in industry was of egocentric and often arrogant men with lots of energy and often a dim view of the ability of their subordinates. There were exceptions of course and they were a joy to work for. The Blood Transfusion Empowerment programme you described is also interesting. These sorts of initiatives usually fail because employees perceive them to be ploys to wring greater effort from them without due reward and see that it doesn't really alter their position in the power structure.
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