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I’ve seen just as many cases of ‘the governor wants this, make it happen’ or ‘the secretary wants this, make it happen’ as I have ‘the ceo wants this, make it happen’
To me the biggest difference between public and private sector is – generally – in the private sector ‘success’ is profit orientated, which leads to those that can achieve profit goals getting promotions, raises and more power, while in the public sector it’s less ‘money in my pocket’ (largely because public employees can be statutorially prohibited from getting bonuses) and more power orientated…those that can make the boss’ goals come true get promoted into positions of more power. And then in using that power, they can make their money.
And what gets lost in both public and private sector is the cost to the employees….such as ‘sure, this way is the most efficient way to drive a trash route, but it means that employees can’t even take bathroom breaks and maintain their quota of pickups’ (as was seen in a first season episode of undercover boss. The CEO literally had no idea that people weren’t allowed time to go pee on their routes, all he knew was that they had a goal of so many pickups in a certain time span.)
The disconnect between big boss (ceo, secretary, governor, mayor whatever) and ‘grunt’ is still there, and middle managers are still motivated to keep the boss happy, sometimes regardless of how employees are treated, and the big boss has no idea how the middle manager REALLY gets things done.
At the end of the day, I think that’s the goal of undercover boss, to remove all the middle managers and allow the bosses to see how things really happen vs what a middle manager tells them.
Middle managers can be, in my opinion, the biggest obstacle for any company, be it public or private. Some are good, some are truly horrible. If you have a big boss that gets out of his/her office and looks around every once in a while, then it sometimes helps the lower level employee. But, all too often, what there is is a big boss who either lacks the time or initiative or really doesn’t care HOW things get done, as long as goals are met and quotas made.
And then you end up with a middle manager that truly makes work atmospheres horrible, employees unhappy and fed up, and the real root of the problem is never addressed, because the middle manager sure isn’t going to speak up and say ‘umm, think i’m the problem’.