Episode 11 "... and so we thought that you might like to attend this two-day workshop in effective leadership techniques," the Boss burbles, rounding off the professional goal-setting exercise that company policy obliges him to do with me and any other contractor with a contract that's rolled over for more than five years.
"Well to be honest Dave – may I call you Dave?"
"My name is Philip."
"Yes, but Dave's easier to remember. Anyway Dave, to be honest, thank you for your kind offer but I would rather have my scrotum set on fire and put out by stamping with a spiked golf shoe whilst slamming my fingers in a desk drawer repeatedly."
"You remember the scene in Driller Killer where the guy drills through each of the guy's finger and toe nails?"
"No, because it isn't in the movie – but I'd still rather have that happen to me than attend an effective leadership techniques workshop."
"It can't be that bad!"
"Oh, it will. It'll be some clapped out has-been with a 70cm waist and a 105cm drinkers' gut kicking off with a MBTI test then segueing into a discussion of effective leaders of the past 50 years. No wait! The past 10,000 years!"
"There'll be a discussion on the seven wonders of the ancient world and how they were achieved with effective leadership, as were the seven wonders of the modern world. There will be some theories of modern leadership which will segue into ethics of leadership, the desire of leaders to be loved, valued or held in awe, and then another exercise on where our personal strengths are and which leadership desire we mostly have."
"I'm not sure that we..."
"The first day will finish with some tired out variety act with a tenuous link to leadership – a magician or a hypnotist maybe, then an informal get together, at which point I will attempt to ply the has-been's administrative assistant with too many drinks. Finally, the night will probably finish – if the bar is serving top-shelf – with a fight."
"I really don't thi..."
"Day two will start with each attendee having to identify a leader from history that they aspire to be and what they think was special about that person, after which there will be a group discussion of each favoured leader's style, strengths and weaknesses."
A brief silence ensues.