The Cure for Horrible Employees and Bosses

In a Harvard Business Review article, The Cure for Horrible Bosses by Rosabeth M. Kanter she talks about the dark comedy film Horrible Bosses and how you can neutralize a bad boss. She states as many as half of American workers feel low levels of employee engagement stem from poor management.

To explain how to overcome the affects of a bad boss she talks about a character Pierre that was placed into a low performing subsidiary as a COO. In the organization, the CEO was an imperialistic and antagonistic boss that immediately resented Pierre’s presence. After a bout of depression, Pierre then sets out to build relationships in the organization. The relationships that Pierre creates over the next several weeks eventually renders the toxic CEO powerless.

She states that organizations that promote strong, multidimensional relationships among colleagues weakens the control of single autocratic boss. It is the same strong, multidimensional relationships that also builds stronger teams and work groups that diffuses overbearing and domineering team members.

Everybody has to Manage

As organizations continue to reduce traditional organizational structures you find at any given point during the work day that any person has to take on the role of manager. When these individuals have stronger relationships they will experience less conflict and the work they are responsible for managing will get done faster and be of higher quality.

The reality is that the quality of our relationships affects our professional and personal lives. Not everybody can do what Pierre did. We must work on all of our relationships if we are to have a greater sense of belonging and meaning in our lives. How to do it is the hard part.

Years of Bad Influences

Unfortunately, for decades our minds have been corrupted about how to build strong and mutually respectful relationships. I can remember as a kid staying up late at night to watch The Morton Downey Jr. show. If you want to see the pioneer of trash on TV, just do a Google search and get ready to see how not to behave.

I also noticed the other day as my daughter was watching the Disney produced show iCarly starring Miranda Cosgrove that she was picking up some very bad relationship eroding behaviors. Just listening to the sarcastic language and the way they talk so disrespectfully about other people on the show does not give an 8-year old good examples on how to build rapport and show respect for others. Little does she know that I have made an effort to keep her occupied so that show is no longer watched.

Present but not Interacting

Then I look at these kids that are out to dinner at a restaurant with their parents and they just sit there the entire time playing video games, listening to music with headphones on or texting and never having a conversation or interacting at all. Do you think these are bad influences that contribute to the lack of relationship building skills we experience in our lives and work? Do you think these things contribute to people’s unhappiness with their personal and professional relationships? Or is it just too easy to blame others?

For deeper insights into this issue you need to get your complimentary of the ebook Averting the Leadership Development Crisis.

One Response to The Cure for Horrible Employees and Bosses

  • This article really hit the nail on the head. One other point I’d like to add is that a large majority of people are hired or promoted into employee management positions without any real training on supervisory best practices. More time should be taken to ensure that anyone charged with managing is trained or mentored along the way.

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