When I have been an administrator, I have chosen to keep the smart people doing their jobs. Why take someone away from something he’s good at, just to put him in a job I don’t know if he can do or not?
Of course, then it becomes a matter of keeping management off the smart people’s backs and out of their way. This is still better than taking the smart people away from the things they do best. Unfortunately, in today’s world, the most common reward for doing your job well is more and harder work.
When I have been a manager, though, it has often been a pain in the bahonkus. I am caught between two situations: the day to day realities of what the great mass of employees are doing and MUST do to keep the company rolling… and the desires of upper management or administration, which sometimes directly conflict with what keeps the entire show afloat.
“I don’t care how you do it, just get X accomplished by thus and such a date!”
Administrators like this are the worst thing management can have to deal with. Furthermore, we live in an age where administration often has little or no clue about what the actual employees do … the basis of the Dilbert cartoons. SURE, they’re going to look like idiots!
My father-in-law worked for the Air Force in the sixties, developing programming for NORAD. Back then, “computer programming” involved working at a desk with a pad and paper, thinking up code and writing it down, and correcting it, and handing it off to the punchcard people, who would then input it into the system.
In short, my father-in-law sat at a desk all day, leaning back, thinking hard, with his feet propped on his desk, occasionally sitting up suddenly and scribbling madly on a pad… and then leaning back to stare into nowhere and think some more. This was his job. This was what he did for a living.
It drove his supervisors apeshit. They couldn’t tell if their department was actually working, or simply goldbricking…
…which is where a lot of managers and supervisors stand today, as some of the basic jobs of our society become more and more esoteric.
My father-in-law was lucky. His supervisors didn’t interfere with him; his work was too important. We had to beat the Russkies, you know!
…but today, in the private sector, a great many managers and administrators aren’t that smart.