If you are a fan of the British science fiction television series Dr. Who, you might know the Ood. Basically a peaceful race, the Ood, which have human bodies and an octopus-like face, have been forced into servitude by a greedy Earth corporation. Part of this servitude is, not to be too graphic, a replacement of part of their brain with a sphere that allows them to speak.
In one episode, the normally docile Ood begin exhibiting very strong emotions. Some are angry to the point of being rabid. Others are filled with vengeance. The explanation is as bizarre as it complicated, but The Doctor explains it best. The Ood are beginning to express repressed feelings and they are coming out in many different ways.
The Doctor figures this out because he has observed Ood Sigma, the personal servant Ood of the head of the corporation which is harvesting and enslaving the Ood. Ood Sigma didn’t exhibit any of the violent emotions that the other Ood were experiencing. He seemed as docile and devoted as ever to the head of the corporation. It is only late in the episode that we find that assumption to be wrong. Ood Sigma has been experiencing emotions, but for him, it came out as cold revenge. No violent outbursts for him. No. Instead, he sought revenge, thinking it out coolly and was willing to play the long game to get to his goal. The revenge, shall we say, was both ironic and fitting. If you have never seen the episode, I commend you to watch it. I won’t say any more here, as it would contain, as another Dr. Who character would say, ‘spoilers’.
So what does this have to do with a management blog? There are great parallels. If you are not a good manager, you have probably seen, and ignored many of the Ood emotions in your group. Anger, despair, vengeance, and even hopelessness. What about the Ood Sigmas in your group? The ones who are plotting to do some kind of revenge for the way they and their co-workers have been treated? Is there some industrial espionage planned? Some big blaze of glory exit? Letters being written? Data being damaged? This blog is in no way advocating or suggesting any of those acts. It is simply stating that, due to a manager’s poor management, irreparable harm may happen to the company or the manager’s department. And no one will ever see it coming. Remember, Edward Snowden was simply a contractor up until one fateful day.
The same managers who either don’t believe their poor behavior has no victims, or simply refuse to acknowledge the damage they have done can cause a wide spread of illness, emotion, and pain. To those managers, I offer some simple advice: watch out for the Ood Sigmas in your staff. Better yet, become a good manager and defuse the situation altogether.