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How to tell if your boss is a spy from 1944
The Owl and The Beetle: Thursday Memo
The chances that your boss is a foreign spy and a saboteur are slim.
However, here are 12 hints that might help you assess the truth about them.
Your boss always demands written orders, reports, and reviews.
Your boss "misunderstands" orders. They ask endless questions or engage in long email threads about such orders. Quibbles over them whenever they can.
Your boss does everything possible to delay the distribution of information. Even though pieces of information may be ready beforehand, they don't deliver it until everything is completely ready.
They don’t order new working assets, like equipment or training, until the current stocks have been virtually exhausted, so the slightest delay in filling the order will mean a shutdown.
They order high-quality assets (people or equipment), which are hard to get. If they don't get them, they argue about it. They warn that inferior assets will mean inferior work.
In making work assignments, your boss always first signs out the unimportant jobs. They also assign the most important tasks to the most ineffective team members.
Your boss insists on perfection in relatively unimportant tasks; they send back for refinishing those deliverables with the least flaw. They approve other defective products whose flaws are invisible to the naked eye.
Your boss makes mistakes in routing information, products, and messages, so they will be sent to the wrong people at the wrong time.
When onboarding new team members, your boss gives incomplete or misleading instructions.
Your boss is pleasant to inefficient team members and gives them undeserved opportunities and praise. Your boss discriminates against the effective team members and complains unjustly about their work.
Your boss holds meetings when more critical work is needed.
Your boss demands more communication among people in the team.
Are you familiar with any of these behaviors?
They are my adaptation of the “managers and supervisors” section of the “1944 Simple Sabotage Field Manual” that the CIA distributed to their spies embedded in the enemies’s organizations.
The purpose was to weaken the enemies' economy by implementing strong inefficiencies within their productive and social institutions.
If you find that this list describes your boss’ behavior with good precision, there are two options: they are a spy from 1944 or… I let you finish this sentence.