“The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come ‘true’. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.” Merton, Robert K (1968). Social Theory and Social Structure.
Relating to my previous blog where I spoke a little about my early experience and, something ongoing in my current incarnation, I would like to say at this time that if I spend nine years with the same company, it’s a good company!
I’m almost tempted to say in fairness that that doesn’t mean every manager was good, but I really didn’t meet a bad one in my nine years with them, and that may just be at least part of my problem. I didn’t know what it was like to be treated badly. Enter my first major career change and my first major wake up call…
It’s a funny thing that, even though this was a long time ago, I can still feel a little emotional reaction inside myself when I think about it. I can’t remember any other time in my life where one person managed to do so much damage to the morale of so many while blaming everyone except himself for it! This was a man who would literally go round the building if he was in a bad mood, and just sack a few people for anything he could think of to justify it. If he got an audit, he would stall just long enough for a mad rush to make his building safe enough to pass. The running joke was to trap a colleague in a non fully functioning lift between floors.
The purest epitomy of the self-fulfilling prophecy, this bad manager reaped what he sewed day in and out, as the inevitable antics of his staff provided justification for the negative management style that actually caused it!
I’ve just spent the past four or so years working for what is probably the second-best employer I’ve been privileged to be associated within my lifetime.
Everything about the people and the business says I should stay put at least for a bit. But in fairness, that doesn’t mean that every manager is good, and as it always is a top-down equation, only time will tell…