Well, I was doing a little ego surfing on Google this evening and lo and behold, this site has the #1 Google spot for the phrase "slacker manager." Shouldn’t be a big surprise, but still…#1 out of 25,000 hits is kinda fun.
Now for the ominous part of this post. One of the results was an essay called Slaying The Slacker (pdf). Gah! And it’s chock full of bowhunting metaphors for hunting, wounding and killing slackers! GAH!
Actually, the article is really well done (except for the creepy hunting metaphors) and is full of great advice for protecting the organization from chronic underachievers (I even saved a copy of the article. Heresy!). The author, a guy named Craig Gilliland, brings up some solid points about how and where to document poor performance. He reviews some of those sneaky slacker tricks and offers countermeasures. He notes the importance of having employees assigned to tasks that compliment their skills and abilities. Lotsa good stuff there.
However. For all the effort he put into writing such a serious article on what amounts to fine tuning organizational or departmental performance, I think he seriously misses the boat when it comes to the risks of "overimproving" the department/organization. Too much emphasis on slacker hunting and fine tuning efficiencies will drive out the true performers as well as the slackers. It’s a common oversight, but a serious flaw in the essay, nonetheless.