(Boots on the Ground is an annoying business term and is just one of the 212 Most Annoying Business Phrases Managers Effuse, Confuse, and Overuse detailed in the hilarious must-have guide for every workplace: The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room. Available right now on Amazon.)
Boots on the Ground
Uncreative managers – especially those who never served in the armed forces – seem to gravitate toward tough-sounding, military replacement phrases for the most mundane things. From calling a training seminar a “boot camp” to referring to their meeting space as “the war room;” some managers try too hard to make the mundane seem important; almost dangerous.
This spills over into staffing when they discuss the need for additional employees in the field. As in, “We need more boots on the ground.”
How tough you are Mr. Manager! It’s a war out there, isn’t it? If you’re going to win this war, you’ve got to have those boots on the ground, right?
Wait, you’re not letting the title General Manager go to your head, are you? You do understand you’re not really a General, right?
If we really want to get technical (and overly-PC) about this annoying use of military jargon in business, we could take offense to the boots portion of the phrase.
Is your manager advocating for only men to tackle this daring role? Or, perhaps, since most businessmen don’t wear boots, while many businesswomen do, perhaps your manager is really an enlightened leader looking to bring more women into your company’s field force.
Of course, neither scenario is likely. Managers using this phrase are most often dullards of the self-important variety. They don’t think beyond the superficial veneer on any subject… they’re just trying to sound tough.
Replacement phrases: Field teams; Staffing; Headcount
The 30,000-Pound Gorilla in the Room is available on Amazon