professional development

Funnybone: Time for a new approach? Softly, softly

David James /

Our new, wickedly off-colour humour column features the views of the world’s worst manager, Slithershanks. Enjoy.


Slithershanks leaned forward on his knowledge base and optimised his strategy with respect to actualising a deliverable or two. It was impressive stuff. Yet despite the virtuoso management performance, he looked perplexed.

“You look perplexed,” said Dolly Riseranks, who appeared to be secretly hoping he had contracted some unknown disease that did not yet have a name, but when it did get one it would make the bubonic plague sound like a mild headache.

“Yes, Doll, I think I need to work on my soft skills.”

“Well, you have been soft in the head for quite a few years now,” said Riseranks, not entirely helpfully.

“The thing is, I think I have been pretty good at all the hard skills. You know, drilling down to the hard numbers, making the hard decisions, taking a good hard look at the staff’s wages …”

“Having a hard time figuring out what a customer is. Finding that being a human being is all too hard so remaining a manager instead,” Riseranks interjected.

“That’s rather uncalled for, Doll. Look, I am very serious about getting my soft skills going here. For instance, I have decided to smile more. Impressive, don’t you think?”

“Is that what it is? I thought you were working out how to distract people while you went about the difficult task of lying through your teeth.”

“We have to be into adhocracy, Doll. Action programing. Spontaneity to amp up the human capital’s daily drivers as we all face headwinds in the de-layered org chart.”

“And here was me thinking that your grin was a skilful deployment of bad breath to keep staff at arm’s length. And it’s worked, too.”

“Doll, we are not a one-man show in this tiger team. Obviously, if I am going to talk turkey about where we are headed, I have to get some serious buy-in with the troops.”

“You know, for some reason “buy-in” rhymes beautifully with “lie in”. Strange coincidence, that.”



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