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A Plea to Bosses Everywhere – Walk Away From the Dark Side

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 6:33 PM
I’m lucky to have sympathetic friends. There is no question that they can offer comfort when I’m feeling confused, stressed and beating myself up with a big psychic baseball bat. Yet they often have the intelligence to say unexpected comments that ring out with pure unadulterated truth.

A friend of mine who had been an administrator in a company and who retired a few years ago said to me, “What makes you think that the people who make decisions are actually qualified to make decisions?” It was the last thing that I expected him to say. I expected him to defend administrators to the bitter end but no, he had experience with people further up the line than him who were continually making bad decisions so he finally retired and walked away.

I am continually amazed by the low quality of decision-making that I see by people who are supposed to be in a position to know better. They will undercut the exact goals that they wish to achieve by going out of their way to make these bad decisions and then to make matters worse, they will go even further out of their way to make the people who work for them feel crappy.

If you have a group of intelligent people who are willing to collaborate to get the best for everybody and the most productive and profitable work environment for everyone involved, doesn’t it make sense to solve problems together rather than using the old school ideas of “We know best and you are idiots. Do what we say and stop whining!” Hundreds of years go by and we still work with outdated confrontational models of solving problems in the work place - the model where the boss has to be the smart, all-knowing monarch and everybody else has to be stupid because they haven’t achieved boss-status. Not only does the boss have the monopoly over the purse strings, he has the monopoly over information and he can use that monopoly to keep his workers “in their place.” And in their place, they must stay.

As one friend says, it doesn’t take long for people to go over to “the dark side” once they are promoted to administrator. They feel that they have achieved this through working harder and being smarter than everybody else. Soon they treat others badly because it is fairly obvious that their underlings just aren’t working as hard as they should be and they aren’t smart enough to realize it.

In many fields, people have to take Human Resources and Administration courses so that they have some theoretical knowledge about how to manage others properly. Yet, all too often, the people who are promoted to management positions have never had this kind of training and soon become bullies who push people around because they can. What they usually don’t see is that the very methods that they are using (and I realize that I’m repeating myself here) are achieving the exact opposite effect of what they had originally intended. Both morale and productivity suffer.

These are hard times for most of us. Our investments are dwindling. Retirement is getting closer and our money is fading away with each monthly RRSP statement. Is it too much to ask our so-called superiors to drop the superior attitude and realize that the bottom line can be affected, perhaps even improved in many ways? People need to be treated with respect and dignity in times like these. They don’t need to feel as if they’ve been raped after a meeting with management because if they do, a whole organization can suffer and I fear that as time goes on, more organizations will. As times get tough, courtesy and common sense are becoming increasingly uncommon.

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