Afraid of Your Boss? You Aren’t Alone

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This study confirms what we already knew – that bad managers are way too common. For instance:

  • Thirty-one percent of respondents reported that their supervisor gave them the "silent treatment" in the past year.
  • Thirty-seven percent reported that their supervisor failed to give credit when due.

Or maybe thirty percent of employees are neurotics who over-analyze every interaction with their boss. Either way, there are lots of unhappy people out there.

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  1. laurence haughton's Gravatar Comment by laurence haughton on December 5th, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    Or… here’s a thought I borrowed from “On the Psychology of Military Incompetence,” perhaps “bad” people (as in people with serious defects in their personalities) are highly attracted to positions in business management. So they flatter and pontificate their way to a corner office and then let their sad personal issues rain down on everyone below.

  2. Rob's Gravatar Comment by Rob on December 6th, 2006 at 6:25 am

    Laurence,
    Interesting. So in general, does power go to those who seek it instead of those who would use it best? For politicians, I would say yes, but I hadn’t thought of it in the context of business.

  3. laurence haughton's Gravatar Comment by laurence haughton on December 6th, 2006 at 10:07 am

    Power may not but certainly control goes to seekers. And some of the most motivated seekers are those who need “control” for all the wrong reasons.

  4. Michael Haberman's Gravatar Comment by Michael Haberman on December 6th, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    Another tack we could take on this deals with training. My experience has been that not many managers receive training on dealing with people issues. Not all bad bosses are personality disordered, many have not been trained on how to deal with confrontation, poor performing employees, giving feedback, etc. So they fall back on behavior they have seen before. American business does not usually make someone a boss for their people skills, they are made a boss because of their “technical” skills in their area and then are allowed to fend on their own when it comes to the softer stuff.

  5. Michael Haberman's Gravatar Comment by Michael Haberman on December 7th, 2006 at 3:07 pm

    I don’t think the vast majority of “bad” bosses are due to personality disorders. I think many bad bosses are due to the fact that American business does a very poor job of promoting people into positions based upon their expertise and not their skill in handling people. And they we give them little to no training in dealing with confrontation, performance evaluation, discipline or any other managerial subject. We assume they know what they are doing. And we all know the old saying about “ass-u-me.”

  6. laurence haughton's Gravatar Comment by laurence haughton on December 7th, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    I also didn’t “think” that personality disorders were at the root of a lot of bad bosses either. Then I read the book I cited written by a psychologist, university professor and former military man who researched incompetence and looked for root causes in hundreds of examples disastrous leadership behavior and results.

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