December 16, 2019 - NeverGoingBack
A Tiny Glimpse Into Target’s ‘Leadership’
Here’s a little anecdote about some of the training I took upon being ‘promoted’ to my totally real and not at all it’s-temporary-but-don’t-tell-him-that team lead position. So I was in the office knocking out a bunch of the online training modules – which by the way were about all the training I actually received; I literally had maybe 90 minutes total of in-person training for two different TL positions – when I stumbled upon an absolute gem of a question. It’s been well over a year now, so I don’t remember the exact wording and will have to paraphrase. Still, I think even the gist of question (or more precisely, the answer) is plenty ‘are you fucking joking?’.
The question was something to the effect of: Your boss tells you and your team to implement a new procedure, different from the way things have been done before. After several weeks of following this new procedure, it doesn’t seem to be working out. What do you do? It then asked the reader to select the best of four available answers. I forget one of the four entirely, but it was a wrong answer and not important. The remaining three (paraphrased) answers were as follows:
A.) Confront your boss publicly and tell them the new procedure is a terrible idea.
B.) Speak to your boss privately about concerns you have about the efficiency and effectiveness of the new procedure, and try to work together to improve it.
C.) Say nothing and continue to follow the new procedure, even though you know it doesn’t work.
Of course, the correct answer for any sane, logical human being is obviously B. But, in TargetLand, that’s wrong. In TargetLand, the answer is C. Let that really sink in for a moment. And remember, this wasn’t a specific manager at my store telling me this. This was part of their official training, their official introduction into Target Leadership Culture, essentially flat-out stating that if you see something that doesn’t work… you keep your mouth shut. Because management damn sure doesn’t want to hear about it.
Granted it was only a single question, but it really fits with my observations (both as a TM and later as a TL) of the leadership at my store. It’s a culture based around not questioning the person above you, because if you do, it’s clearly because you’re challenging their authority. It’s certainly not because you want to, oh I don’t know, do your job to the best of your ability. It’s not because you honestly believe you can help make improvements to your department or your team. It’s not because you can see the long term failure of these policies, and you’re desperately trying to fix them before everything goes completely off the rails. No, it’s definitely the challenging authority thing. And Target management (certainly at my store, and probably at many others judging by the posts on this site) is full of insecure children who absolutely cannot handle a perceived challenge to their authority.