How Dark Managers Can Rationalize Dark Management

Let’s say that you drive your cars every day. There are traffic laws and rules, and there are safety practices and principles. As a reasonable driver, you’ll always try your best to follow them all. However, you might still end up having accidents, which might or might not be your fault.

If you’re an exceptionally skilled driving veteran, however, you might be good enough to ignore all the aforementioned restrictions while still managing to have no accident at all. You can always anticipate all the possible scenarios and react immediately. You can drive at the top speed and ignore all traffic lights. You can always aim to minimize the time to move from A to B at all cost without trouble. You dismiss all the aforementioned restrictions as artificial obstacles.

Now let’s imagine two drivers, A and B, where A is a reasonable one and B is an exceptionally skilled veteran. Their conversations about driving in general might go like this:

A: I respect and trust your skills, but I still don’t want to be your passenger. It’s just too scary.

B: If you really respect and trust my skills, you should respect and trust my results too. I can always carry you to your destination 2x faster than what you do as a driver. You’re just scared because of the processes, which doesn’t matter at all when I can give the results you want.

A: But all the drivers nearby your car are scared as well. You never follow any traffic laws and rules, nor safety principles and practices. You’re a reckless driver and extremely dangerous to everyone else on the road. You need to be considerate or you’ll eventually have accidents.

B: All those are just restrictions you know? Yes, they’re musts for most drivers, but are just artificial obstacles getting in my way. My only concern’s to minimize the time to move from X to Y, otherwise why I’m driving in the first place? Those drivers need those restrictions as they’re not skillful enough, and that’s their problems, not mine. Why I’ve to care about those dummies?

A: But without those restrictions, most drivers won’t be able to drive safely and protect themselves from dangerous drivers, meaning that there will be much more accidents, eventually to the point that the entire traffic system will malfunction due to too many roads being blocked by accidents for too long. It’ll ultimately harm your goal — minimizing the time to go from X to Y. You need to realize that even you need those restrictions. You’re actually benefiting from them.

B: What you’ve all said only means that most drivers shouldn’t drive until they’re skillful enough instead. Think about it, no matter how they stick to those restrictions, they still cause accidents. If they can’t drive safely even under such strict restrictions, how can you say that they’re already qualified to drive? So the solution isn’t to force me to follow those artificial obstacles, but rather raise the skill bar to a high enough level. I repeat: The root cause is those drivers’ incompetence.

A: But that’d cause most drivers to disappear, as you’re one of those rare exceptions. How can you expect them to be as good as you when they’re just normal people? That’s just too harsh.

B: And that’s exactly the point: We don’t need so many drivers to begin with. There are simply too many cars driven by incompetent drivers on the road. With them, I’ve to tackle much more complicated and convoluted cases where their irrational fear caused their dangerous behaviors. As they’re scared by my driving, they’d do something that makes no sense, and that’s exactly how they’d cause me troubles. They don’t even know how to differentiate safe from unsafe.

A: Well, I’m not as good as you, but I’ll still drive while conforming to all those restrictions. The same applies to most drivers, as driving does help their lives a lot. Some even need it to live. At this point, I think it’s clear that we’ve no common ground on this topic. We should respectfully agree to disagree. After all, I still respect and trust your skills, but I just won’t drive like you.

Replace A with a reasonable manager, B with a dark manager and the topic with management, and it’ll be obvious on how a dark manager can rationalize dark management.

To dark managers, all the moral laws and rules, and management principles and practices are just artificial obstacles for them to maximize their self interest at all cost. They’ll think that those restrictions are only for all those so-called reasonable managers who are not competent enough to maximize their self interest. Also, even when those reasonable managers strictly follow suit, they’ll still rarely behave selfishly and cause managerial accidents harming everyone even when everything’s under their control. Those dark managers instead perceive themselves as exceptionally skilled manipulation veterans who’ll never ever get caught by anyone else. They always justify their behavior by proving how they’re necessary to maximize their self interest. They naturally emphasize the end results while downplaying all the harms done along the way. After all, they perceive management as only a means to maximize their self interest at all cost.

As reasonable managers usually get in their way when they’re trying to ascend in the food chain while they perceive reasonable managers as incompetent, they’d tend to think that the world doesn’t need so many reasonable managers. They instead prefer the world having dark managers only so they can bargain for distributing the targeting audience and force everyone to be exploited by them no matter where they’re(Just like exceptionally skilled driving veteran have tacit understanding on each other without needing any driving behavior guidance). The most ideal case for them is that they’re all on the same page when maximizing their self interest by adjusting them so none of them will have any conflict with each other. The end game is that they’ll be predictably and stably exploiting their targets without ever interfering each other.

Of course, if there were no moral laws and rules, nor management principle and practices, most of the reasonable managers would end up being the stupidest dark managers, just like how a reasonable driver would become the most dangerous driver. By having so many stupid dark managers, those excelling in the dark art will have even more troubles — They’ll have to constantly deal with endless waves of unstably dangerous idiots not even getting the dark management basics right. Thus, the typical and best dark managers will appear to advocate those management restrictions while actually ignoring them, all for the sake of themselves. Reasonable managers are much lesser troubles compared to the stupidest dark managers.