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Author Wayne Turk hits the mark.

Response to Wayne Turk's articles "Ten Rules For Success As A Manager" (Defense AT & L, July-August 2004) and "Dear Wayne ... Advice from the PM Trenches" (Defense AT & L, November-December 2004) proved that reminders of the basics of work-place survival never come amiss.

Timely and Applicable

I recently read Wayne Turk's "Ten Rules for Success as a Manager" and was impressed with several items in his article:

1. It was timely--all managers need reminding occasionally of the basic rules.

2. His points are very applicable in all work places.

3. I compared his 10 rules to the rules used by my previous supervisors/directors, and the good ones practiced all 10 points; the poor ones missed the mark on at least half of them.

4. I have learned that Turk's third rule, "Tell them what you want done, not how to do it," is not practiced very widely in the Air Force. After reading all Air Force policy and instructions on risk management (what the Air Force wants done), I discovered over 200 pages of guidance documentation (how to do it). So much for just expecting results.

Mike Vajdos, P.E.

Brooks City-Base, Texas

Biting the Hand that Feeds

Wayne Turk's article "Dear Wayne ... Advice from the PM Trenches" should be provided to all military, DoD, and contractor periodicals. The advice is not just for PMs but needs to be read by all. I have seen several instances in just the past few months where engineers, senior leaders, and others could have profited by some of this advice--instances, for example, where e-mails were sent to large groups (including senior leadership and the trench workforce) that should never have been sent.

I do want to pass on a warning on the section "Reaching out a helping hand." While reaching out and helping others is a worthy practice, be aware of the possibility that some of those you choose to aid may use your efforts to improve their own positions and conveniently forget your input.

For example, you might regularly help out a colleague who has a hard time organizing material and putting reports together by creating the outline or rough draft of documents he or she is responsible for. After all, you say to yourself, everyone is supposed to be working as a team and the important thing is not to fail the customer. Next thing you notice is that the boss has appointed your colleague team leader, which is puzzling since you know the person can't complete a task unaided. Worst case, he or she gets recognition for superior work (your superior work) and maybe gets a raise, a bonus, or even a promotion. Your colleague accepts the accolades with no mention of how much of the credit is due to your help.

There's no good way to get out of this kind of situation. Quit helping your colleague and there's a risk that customer relationships will suffer and a good chance your colleague will find a way to place the blame on you. Tell your boss what's going on and risk being accused of sour grapes over your coworker's success. You may find your only option is to change jobs.

Turk's article brought back memories of my own hard-learned lessons. So read and heed: Reciprocal support is the only way to build a team--but make sure the emphasis is on the word "reciprocal" and that everyone really is operating as a team player.

Al Horton, Quality Manager

Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
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Title Annotation:From Our Readers
Publication:Defense AT & L
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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