This post is based on an ancient, dog-eared, xeroxed document that I recently discovered in the bottom drawer of the desk of a middle manager who died of a sudden ailment.
That document, which had clearly been passed from hand to hand for decades, contained seven secret ways to get employees to do what they’d rather not do, without the hassle of paying them more.
The document was stamped — in red letters — with the words “DO NOT REPRODUCE” and “FOR MANAGEMENT EYES ONLY.” Even so, I have decided, at vast risk to my career and life, to post its contents for all to see.
Fortunately, the document also contained (in the form of warnings to the boss) advice on how a smart employee can overcome the trick and even play it to advantage. So get ready to have your eyes opened, and learn how to make sure your boss doesn’t play you like a used accordion.
The Problem: You've got a valuable employee that you're afraid of losing, but can't pay what she's worth. What's worse, she knows she's a valuable employee (uh oh!) and is beginning to see the disparity between the value she provides and the reward she gets.
The Solution: Management is all about having a vision, right? So you need to create a vision in that employee's mind of a future where she'll get all the wonderful things she deserves.
Helpful Hint: Your vision must be free of actual commitments, details, and timelines, but short of that, feel free to make whatever vague, wonderful-sounding promises you think will keep her happily working away for the peanuts you're paying her.
WARNING: A perceptive employee will try to pin you down on details. When you make vague promises of a bigger salary, for example, she'll want to know exactly how much and when her salary will change. If you say that you can't make specific commitments, she'll realise that unless you're willing to talk specifics, nothing is going to change. In that case, she'll probably start making future career plans based on the (entirely true) assumption that you were just making it all up anyway. Which you were, of course.
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