Bad bosses keep it negative; stir emotional rancor in workplace
By Leanne Hoagland-Smith February 8, 2013 2:14PM
Have you ever had a bad boss? Or maybe a boss who sometimes engaged in bad behaviors? How did that make you feel?
If you are a boss, a manager or a supervisor, how do you think your bad behaviors made your direct reports feel? Are you stirring up a pot of negative emotions that will eventually simmer until they boil over? And what will you do with all that emotional spillage?
Would you believe in spite of all the information regarding leadership and management; in spite of all the training and development; in spite of all the business books and in spite of all the lawsuits, there are still bosses yelling at employees; making negative comments to employees as well as vendors and sometimes even customers.
Sure, there are some employees who probably warrant conversations about their performance in private. However, screaming and swearing at them are not the best behaviors for small business owners to those in management or supervisory roles. Just because you have the role of boss or manager does not give you the right to be rude or disrespectful. Employees are not your serfs!
Recently a colleague told me of an event where a partner of a small to mid-size business screamed at a good employee in front of other employees. The employee refrained from responding. She began a new job search and within 30 days gave her notice. When asked why she quit, she told the senior partner, “you are just lucky I did not sue you.”
The senior partner sweetened the salary pot in hope to keep the good employee, but she politely turned it down. Her reasoning was this type of emotional outburst was going to happen again. This small business had some very serious management and leadership issues.
How many small to mid-size businesses have bad leadership and bad management?
Of course it is hard to look in the mirror and admit to behaving like a boorish boss especially when you have credentials such as PhD, MBA or Esq. behind your name not to mention you being the person who signs the checks.
Companies today regardless if they are a force of one or many cannot afford emotional outbursts. These negative emotions only create more disharmonies in any organization and build distrust within the remaining employees who personally witnessed the emotional eruption or worse yet heard about it through the fast traveling employee hotline.
According to a report released in June by Interaction Associates and the Human Capital Institute, trust in business continues a downward trend with only 27 percent in 2012 of the respondents having a high level of trust in management and the organization compared to 39 percent in 2009. This decline in trust is supported by a decline in the perception of effective leadership and having a collaborative culture.
Bad bosses are very expensive. They cost organizations thousands to millions of dollars every year specific to customer loyalty, employee productivity and turnover. With the majority of businesses in the United States having 99 employees or less, the structure to identify and work with bad bosses is usually not present. These bad bosses are allowed to continue and drain the organization’s profits not to mention other assets.
Today’s marketplace is highly competitive and will become even more so with the retirement of even more baby boomers and additional profitability squeeze. No organization can afford one bad boss less alone multiple ones. The challenge is simple.
Are you willing as the leader, the manager or the small business owner to call the emperor naked and address the problem even if it is yourself?
If not, you may be doing a lot more surviving instead of thriving.
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