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My Boss Just Put a Teenage Driver In Charge of My Team

December 12, 2014


Little more left. . .No. Not too much. Back in the middle of the lane. . .A little more gas. The speed limit is 50. Little more left. . .watch the center line.

I’ve taught three of my kids to drive. I’m about to start teaching 5 more who all turn 15 or 16 this year.

It’s a job that takes a lot of patience and no small amount of courage. (I like long empty two lane roads like the one pictured above.) New drivers tend to bounce back and forth between the yellow center line and the white shoulder line. It seems like they do almost as much back and forth as they do forward. You know they are finally getting it when you don’t bounce back and forth.

My department was doing another reorganization. . .and I was loosing my email team. I’d been hired at the large non-profit to oversee the rollout of the new Microsoft Exchange system. The team was now going to Robert.

Okay, it wasn’t my team, but I had really enjoyed being the manager, and I was good at it. We had to tune the Exchange system. My background in messaging and Microsoft Exchange let me implement some really innovative solutions.

It was also easier for me to relate to these engineers than any others. I not only had the credibility I’d built up over the past year and a half, I also had written a book on Exchange and hours of training materials. I really knew this stuff.

And Robert didn’t. I didn’t have anything against him personally, but Robert was not a manager I really understood. I have my management style, and I realize that others have theres. But, Robert didn’t seem to have any. I watched issues that his current team struggled and imagined how I would address them. Mostly they were issues with training and coaching. Robert really wasn’t engaged with his team.

My boss didn’t see what the big deal was,

It will be fine, Rodney. After all, the messaging team is one of our best performing teams. I don’t understand your concern.

Teenage drivers.

I don’t follow.

Every taught a teenager to drive?

Yeah. So?

They weave back and forth like a drunken sailor, right?


Who makes more corrections, a seasoned driver or a teenage driver.

The teenager.

I don’t think so. The teenager makes big corrections when they get too close to the edge, but the seasoned driver makes 1000 times more corrections, but they are tiny. So, the car goes straight, but it’s because the driver is making all these little corrections. Robert doesn’t have the experience to make the small corrections.

I understand your analogy, but I’m still moving the messaging team to Robert’s group.

A couple years later Robert was still there and I was accepting some nice parting gifts as they laid me off.

So, maybe he was smarter than I gave him credit for.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.

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  1. Oh dear.

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