April Fools Worst Self

15Five Launches Updated Manager Soft Skills Training With Worst-Self Academy

By David Mizne

“Would I rather be feared or loved? Easy. Both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”

~ Michael Scott, Dunder Mifflin 

Those of us in the tech and innovation space understand that there’s a sweet spot for providing businesses with solutions to their most pressing problems. We call this leading and pacing. Shoot past the market by offering something that customers are not ready for and no one will use it. Offer something with too little innovation and you render yourself obsolete.

In January we released the Best-Self Academy in an effort to lead the market that we thought was demanding more leadership training to guide managers to communicate more effectively, create psychologically safe work environments, and support employee growth. Turns out that we were way off. While thousands of people enrolled in the Academy and many have even become certified Best-Self managers, the majority of the workforce is still mired in archaic business practices like meetings.

So we took a step back and realized that the Best-Self Academy is just too far ahead of what most businesses are ready for. In an effort to better pace the market, today we are releasing the not-at-all revolutionary Worst-Self Academy.  

An introduction from Worst-Self Academy Director, Jeff Smith, PhD

Your Worst-Self Awaits

Take a good long look in the mirror. Are you satisfied with mediocre work product? Not really interested in treating others with respect? Couldn’t give a shit about employee development? Then the Worst-Self Academy is for you.

Our flagship Checked-out Manager Certification is comprised of nine key courses for managers to pretty much continue doing what they’ve always done, but with a highly focused emphasis on disengagement and apathy. Why nine courses and not ten? Because meh. 

1) Micromanagement? Try Nanomanagement. Nothing drives accountability on teams like constant supervision. But who has time these days to stand over employees and tell them how you would do it better? We’ll go through the basics of nanomanagement and offer key lessons that even you helicopter bosses never heard of. As more and more teams are going remote, you need to up your game and scrutinize every detail in real time, lest employees start slacking. 

2) Public Shaming. Ever heard the old adage, praise publicly and criticize privately? Wrong! By criticizing behind closed doors you are wasting an enormous opportunity to have others on the team join in your scorn.

Pro tip for you parents: This also works great with kids in terms of improving behavior and self-esteem.

3) Ask The Wrong Questions. This course is tied to a revolutionary 15Five product feature – The Inappropriate Question Bank. The cutting edge of people management is not for everyone. It takes a particular combination of those bold enough to tread into uncomfortable territory with employees, and companies with extra capital to spend on employment litigation. But if you are indeed a visionary/early adopter, don’t go it alone. Try our latest feature and let’s get inappropriate together.

4) Ignoring Feedback. Here’s a little taste. Start by canceling your 1-on-1 meetings and make sure employees know that you’re doing something inconsequential during that time slot, like napping. If despite your best efforts they corner you into a conversation, shut them down by sighing and rolling your eyes.

Of course you can only ignore feedback for so long. Whenever people threaten to escalate concerns to your boss, just remind them that their review is coming up and end the conversation. That’ll keep ‘em quiet.

5) KPI Don’t Care. Get the data and let it speak for itself. Context is a waste of everyone’s time. 

6) Form Silos In A Vacuum. Cross-team collaboration can spell disaster for a mediocre manager. What if employees from different teams compare notes and discover that there are managers at the company who actually care? You don’t need that headache right now, so keep people occupied with constantly pulling pointless reports that you’ll never even use. 

7) Ping! Ping! Ping!  Let’s face it, as a middle manager in a company that doesn’t care about your potential, you’re essentially a spreadsheet factory. How are you going to get the data you need unless you constantly harass your team for metrics on Slack? Bonus impact: If allowed to get into flow states and do deep work, employees are likely to outshine you. How is that supposed to help you get promoted? 

8) Oooh, Sarcasm! I’m Soooo impressed. Authentic conversations can sometimes end with an emotional experience. Not only are you not equipped to deal with that (Tears? Gross!) but it sounds like an HR nightmare waiting to happen. You’re this close to a formal inquiry as it is. 

9) Overcommit/Underdeliver. Did I say that there would be nine courses? Whatever.

Boss 2.0

At the risk of outpacing the market yet again, here is a roadmap of our future courses, so that you can plan your L&D budgets (Litigation & Digital Recruiting): 

1) Using Toxic Culture To Your Advantage

2) Living In Your ZOI (Zone of Incompetence)

3) Hiding Mistakes Effectively

4) Blaming Your Underlings 

5) Annual Reviews: So Much Bias, So Little Time  

Machiavelli was right: fear is your winning strategy. Sure, respect and honesty feel better, but they are unsustainable. Take it from me, a former farmer (i.e. I played Farmville once), the carrot doesn’t really work unless you use it on the other end of the donkey.

Image Credit: Ben White on Unsplash

Miz Bear

David is Director of Shenanigans at 15Five, where he performs puppet shows and writes other hilarious April Fools posts such as, The Micromanagement Dashboard and The 14Four. David also personally wrote this bio, but the 3rd person makes him sound oh so distinguished.


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