“According to Gallup, 75 percent of the reasons people quit come down to their managers.”
This is the Official Assessment Professionals Use to Identify TBD Symptoms at Work Adapted for General Use
“Swedish researchers at the Stress Institute at Stockholm University studied more than 3,100 men over a 10-year period in typical work settings and found that workers’ risks for angina, heart attack, and death rose along with having worked for toxic bosses.”
LEAD OR LEAVE?
Use The Toxic Boss Disorder Quiz To Help You Decide to Lead or Leave Your Company
Managers matter so much so that 65% of employees would prefer a new, manager over a pay raise.
The world talks about “bad bosses” and often portrays the C-Suite. However, for the majority of workers, bosses aren’t the CEOs or presidents of companies. Bosses are the direct reports that we ask permission from at work every day: (aka) managers.
Sadly, the worst bosses are found out too late.
You’ve put your reputation and credibility on the line in an interview, made a major geographical move or career change and you’re already a year into the new position.
Does this sound familiar?
You think the boss is great (or not) only to find out that you’ve done so well that your once-thought “good boss” saw a power shift in the office leaning in your direction and took the credit for your work so you wouldn’t take her or his job. As a result, the boss you thought was good starts a secret sabotage campaign against you involving the the administration without you knowing. Bad boss.
The C-Suite is clueless of the reality of the front line, of course, because they trust the manger. A manager’s job by default funnels curated information between admin and the workers. If that filter is self-absorbed, ego-driven or agenda-driven, the only one that wins is the manager in the short term. The admin, workers and customers ultimately suffer. Moreover, the C-Suite has to prove to themselves and their peers that their manager hire (someone they’ve probably known for a while) was a good one.
Management is traditionally complicated and traditionally dirty.
Every day work as an episode of The Office sounds cool until you realize this is real life (and no fun without Dwight).
Here’s how companies fail or are forced to call in a consultant and reinvent themselves:
- You can’t always blame the admin, they only know the filtered shade of story they heard in favor of your boss and his credit-taking that your boss told them. If only admin lead by walking around instead of hiding in offices.
- When the workers start complaining, striking or realize that HR’s real job is to protect managers and admin from disgruntled employees instead of helping them…the C-Suite starts paying attention.
- Work has to get so bad that the issues get kicked up to the Cs and that’s when the Cs start blaming middle management.
- Managers aren’t actually managing you, they’re managing their own job.
- If only bad managers stopped getting promoted to admin…but I digress.
- The above five points are why it’s so easy for a consultant to coach an open-eared president or CEO.
- The C-Suite has no idea what’s happening right under their nose and never will because of delegation to bad middle management who try to protect their job at your expense instead of do their job at everyone’s benefit.
- CEOs get bad data without a wise outsider who’s been there that can gather and translate the information productively.
What’s the solution to a bad boss at work?
Your boss should quit.
Your bad boss hates his or her life and is trying to ruin yours.
Misery enjoys company. That’s why so many company cultures are miserable — self-loathing for the need to feel self-important leads to silent infighting.
When employees aren’t in the loop on the larger corporate strategy, they know that a game is being played around them and they aren’t invited to join— outsiders in their own cubicle.
Sadly, the culture of fear to protect our own jobs actually keeps the bad bosses in place, in power. Even when an employee is wronged, employee peers shut-up for fear they will be wronged too.
If you’re in a place where employees are wronged by a bad boss and your peers won’t speak up, you’re in a toxic environment and should quit sooner than later.
Here’s what a toxic workplace looks like: Smart employees who don’t want to quit move laterally to other silos to get a new manager.
We see this happen in human behavior across other crimes, not just organizational behavior in isolation. We hide to protect our lives. It’s a thing.
What would happen if the whole organization poisoned by a bad boss just told the boss?
I’ll tell you what would happen: happiness and productivity.
Unfortunately, the best employees leave before anything changes because trying to change things is what got them in trouble in the first place.
Everyone at work knows why an employee was wronged by a bad boss exceptthe only ones that matter: admin — the ones that can fire the bad boss when the bad boss won’t quit.
“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” — Andy Stanley
What do you do if you have a bad boss?
Talk to her or him with another employee who is with you about the specific issues you want to continue or stop. Get HR involved (who may be protecting the manager, but this can help you if you include them first before a manager works their crafty).
If your manager continues to misbehave, I suggest that you tell your manager that they move on. The same way a manager might say something to you. Yes. Fire your boss. Don’t be beholden to an abusive hierarchy.
Titles mean little, don’t let a manager belittle you.
If your boss won’t quit after you consult him or her to quit (because they’ll be happier somewhere else and it’s just not a fit and it’s just not working out), maybe you should quit. Yes. You should quit. Lots of jobs out there. A better life is out there.
— Moving on is better when you already know there is no moving up when a boss is holding you down (with your head underwater).
— Sooner than later, if you are productive and adding value and have a bad boss, you’ll be let go anyways because you’ll be a threat. Ask anyone. In fact, ask your bad boss. They’ll lie to you. Sorry.
— Toxic bosses don’t get nice, they get even for no reason (in search of self-love).
At the end of the day, bad bosses have less to do with bad employees and more to do with bad experiences for the clients, customers, students and shareholders.
Bad managers are a losing proposition: Lose people. Lose engagement. Lose happiness. Lose productivity. Lose clients. Lose money.
AS A CEO, PRESIDENT OR OWNER, WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU HAVE BAD MANAGERS AND DON’T KNOW IT? ( YOU DO.)
“The single biggest decision you make in your job — bigger than all the rest — is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits — nothing.” — Gallup CEO Jim Clifton in the State of the American Workplace Report
If your company is having issues and you’re not sure why (or just because you’re a good human), do the following:
1. Look at middle management and don’t talk to them: ask the people they lead in an anonymous, no-penalty survey to find out what is actually going on.
— You’ll probably learn that the secretary cries everyday, the manager doesn’t return emails or calls, everyone tiptoes around on eggshells and the bad boss is frequently absent from the work…but it appears like all is well.
Good luck with that one!
— The answer is to fire the bad boss or dissolve the position of the bad boss and hire for a new position that supports similar functions — the same tricks bad managers play, but used honestly and correctly for good and not evil.
2. In other words, start leading by walking the front lines.
3. Stop hiding in that shiny corner office where people kiss the ring.
4. Try it. You’ll learn so much. I already know you don’t want to do this because you’ll learn things you don’t want to learn. You probably also don’t believe you have a bad boss in your midst because you’re such a good big boss. I’m sorry. If you don’t lead from the front every once in a while, you’re an idiot. You’re scared of what might be true and you’ll have to do something. Are you a baby? You’re a baby. Stop being a baby. Baby boss.
5. So I’ll ask you this question, if you are unwilling to sniff out and fire bad bosses: How much longer do you want to be relevant?
6. Ask the front lines who work directly with the customer about their bosses behavior or you’ll risk losing more than your company, you’ll lose face.
7. Actually, if you have bad managers running around, everyone thinks you or your president is a fool already. They want to tell you, but you’ve made it impossible to let information flow fluidly or without punishment. So they smile and kiss the ring while they get knocked down by their bad boss like a pin in a bowling rink.
I’m telling you how it is, C-suite. I’m not happy about it. Neither is the front line. Don’t shoot us, fire the bad guys: toxic directors.
You got this, good big boss. Everyone at your company is cheering you on (except bad bosses). Own it.