I really could not stand all that management training and managerial speak that makes one sound trendy and "in-the-know" when I worked in London. There was always one person, (or more), who was keen to get to the top of the greasy pole of success and show off by being far too clever for their own good.
My lifetime motto has always been "you don't have to blow someone else's candle out for your light to shine". But it seems I was the only one with this attitude. I remember at an annual appraisal meeting my boss said to me once, "you don't have much ambition, do you?"
I replied, "I have ambitions, but not what you would expect!"
Despite his opinion of me, I did leave that firm eventually as a very senior manager.
Anyway, I remember once at a management training meeting, the boss, who knew us all obviously, started the meeting by saying, "let us discover what you all bring to the table!"
"What a stupid thing to say," I thought, but said nothing. Then he proceeded to ask each one in turn their skills which he wrote on the board. Someone said they have accounting experience, someone else said they have worked in HR for years, another came from a sales and marketing background, and so on. And the boss wrote all this down although he knew it anyway. I thought it was a waste of time and I was fuming inside because I had a lot of time-sensitive work to do which was being held up by this meeting. Perhaps I should not have let the devil tempt me, but when it came to my turn to announce my skills I said, "I can wrestle crocodiles!" To be fair to my boss, he said nothing, but wrote it on the board.
Then the exercise proceeded on to team working and decision making. We were told to imagine that our car broke down in the middle of a desert. We were stranded and had to decide whether to stay by the car, or to move to a sheltered place away from the sun, and what would we take with us. Some suggested we take salt tablets (?), others said they'd take a map, (do deserts have maps?), someone wanted to take a flask of water and a bottle of whisky, and so on. I remained silent wishing I was at my desk getting on with my work. The boss noticed my silence and asked me what I would take with me.
I replied, "I'd take the car door!"
They were all puzzled by my reply. The boss asked me why.
I said, "If it gets hot I can open the window!"
Again, to his credit, he did not react. I guess he did not want to get into confrontation with his senior manager.
On another occasion we had to visit the company psychologist on an individual basis. He sat me down and talked about trust. Apparently, in team work you have to trust your colleagues. Likely story; especially since they are all fighting to get at the top of the ladder.
He asked me to show trust by closing my eyes. When I did so, he hit me with his newspaper. He then explained that I should not be too trusting, and I should know who to trust and who not to trust. He asked me to close my eyes again. I was reluctant. He promised me solemnly that he would not hit me with the newspaper. I closed my eyes. He hit me with a magazine and said, "I did not promise not to use a magazine, did I?"
I counted to ten to remain calm. I asked him to show me the magazine, then I hit him on the head twice and said, "I made no promise at all. You should not have given me the magazine!"
He said nothing and scribbled some notes in his book. Then he said, "Imagine you are the policeman in a crime scene. There has been a murder. You are interviewing the young lady who discovered the body. What is the very first thing she said on seeing the dead body?"
I screamed, "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!!!!!!"
He jumped out of his chair at my screaming. He accidentally knocked his cup and there was coffee all over his papers. He tried to soak it all up with his handkerchief and made a bigger mess all over his desk. His secretary came in the room to see what was going on with all the screaming. He tried to calm her down and said unconvincingly that all was well. There's nothing to worry about. She was suspicious and looked at both of us and left saying nothing.
He gathered all his soaking wet papers together and said, "that will be all, thank you!"
I left and never heard any more about that interview. I wonder if I passed or failed!