Monday, April 1, 2013

Like A Boss (Part One)

So as you may (or may not) know, I quit my job last week. Before you panic and think OMGWTF SHE’S GONNA BE HOMELESS, don’t worry, I start another job on Monday.

I’ve been thinking, though, that in the history of my employment, erm, path? I have worked with individuals who have taught me lessons that they, perhaps, didn’t INTEND to teach. Sometimes it has been like attending graduate school taught by the management impaired.

So welcome to a short blog series – Things I have learned from people I work with! – that will encompass my entire employment career and which will, hopefully, entertain you.

Lesson One:

Fear and intimidation are not inspiring.

I REALLY wish I had only one experience with a boss who was a bully manager. Alas, that is not the case.  I’ve had two. Well, sort of three if you count the place I worked where the entire corporate culture can be described as “Fear ‘n Beer” but THAT, my friends, is a post for another day.

Look, if you’re in a supervisory position and all you can think of as a way to motivate your employees is “What if I get my very large self right in that person’s space and scream at them”? You’re failing in a significant way. If your joy comes from watching employees whimper? That’s NOT COOL.  I’m not saying you need to coddle and nurture and handhold every day of your life – heavens knows, I’m not the most nurturing daffodil in the flowerbed – but I AM saying if your default setting is to try to make people fear you, or cry, or both? They’re not going to RESPECT you.

People work a lot harder for supervisors and employers they respect. Ever notice that?

When you don’t respect someone, and they are screaming at you for the 1156th time, your brain starts to count off the minutes the tirade is taking, acknowledging silently that you will never, ever, EVER get them back. And that you should really fix your manicure because, oh look, your thumbnail is chipped.  While your eyes glaze over and you make the proper yes, sir, no sir, responses, you take the time to note the spittle flying from Angry von Maddington’s mouth and think, if he spits on me, maybe I can add that to my formal complaint regarding this as a hostile working environment. Because, really. And then, maybe, you start HOPING he’ll spit on you, because won’t that be a good story later? It totally WILL be.

Trust me, when an employee starts half hoping you’ll spit on her because she wants to add to the lawsuit? You’re a bad manager.

And when the notion that you might ACTUALLY spit on someone, or strike them,  seems neither far-fetched or out of the realm of possibility?

You’re a TERRIBLE manager.

Because no one does their best work when they are terrified that someone is going to stop by their desk and rip them apart at any moment. No one thrives in an environment when they’re constantly being told how useless and stupid they are. No one – NO ONE – WANTS to work like that. If an employee IS working like that? That employee is looking for another job, and is absolutely right to do so.

In the meantime?

They’re kind of hoping for that spit. Because a lawsuit could mean that they got to own the company and fire your angry ass.

Thus endeth the lesson.

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