May 24, 2012

Five Signs Your Boss is a Tool.

Photo: ThisIsRobsLife

Have you ever had a boss with no people skills?

How about a boss with no organizational abilities? Or a total disregard for anything except his or her own hunt for a promotion?

If you answered no to all of the above, chances are that you have mostly been self-employed.

So, why do we so often encounter bosses who make us wonder: Who the heck promoted this one?

Unfortunately, the employees who get promoted are often the ones that talk a good game and are best at positioning their achievements, however small they might be. The candidate’s actual achievements and his/her ability to motivate employees are often neglected in this process.

Now, you might think this writer is carrying a grudge for being overlooked in some past promotion race or for not getting recognized for past achievements—and you’d be right.

But if we never shared the things that involve our emotional investments, we might as well submit to the will of Big Brother and get a job with the Thought Police. So here it goes.

Five signs that your boss is a tool:

1. Your boss never compliments you or your fellow colleagues on your successes—tool rookie.

2. The smallest requests that you have (that would serve as tokens of appreciation of your work) are either ignored or declined by your boss— just a plain tool.

3. Your boss is unable to show empathy or at least fake that he/she understands your problems, thereby reassuring you that your worries will be taken into consideration—OMG what a tool.

4. Your boss punishes or threatens you or your colleagues when you don’t do as he/she expects (e.g. transfer your responsibilities to someone else)—tool shed.

5. Your boss resorts to name-calling (i.e. unrelated or unreasonable accusations) when he/she has no other argument—Watch out! Off-the-scale tool.

Five consequences for your company/organization for having a boss who is a tool:

1. Dissatisfaction (with your boss) is contagious and not because of gossip. Voicing your dissatisfaction is not gossip. It is a way of finding out if your concerns are reasonable. Dissatisfaction is also contagious in the sense that people become short to anger and thereby breed more discontent among coworkers.

2. Employees become more likely to quit and take their network with them when they leave. This is a natural consequence when simple trust is absent from management communication and when common appreciation is overshadowed by punishment, threats and suspicion.

3. For every employee that leaves dissatisfied with the company, the reputation of the company decreases a little. People talk and reputation spreads—especially in small circles where everyone knows each other.

4. Every time an experienced employee leaves, the remaining employees have to spend time and energy educating a new one. This represents an additional cost for the company and is rarely a task that people find interesting.

5. When experienced employees leave, they bring that experience somewhere else— perhaps to the competition or perhaps to become the competition.

Yes, it can definitely be a costly affair to hire a tool. But you are now just a little better equipped to find out if your boss or the individual you hired to be a boss is a tool and what this could mean to your company.

If you are a boss and this article has left you feeling like a tool, then don’t lose hope.

All you have to do is change your behavior a little bit. Start with the easy things. Try complimenting an employee… preferably on something work-related. Make them feel good about the work they have done.

If you keep it up, it could spread and your workplace might become more enjoyable. And when do you do your best work? When you feel good about what you’re doing or when it makes you unhappy? I think you know the answer—tool!

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Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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