Skip to comments.Bad bosses get promoted, not punished
Posted on 08/03/2007 3:45:53 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
Bad bosses get promoted, not punished
Fri 03 Aug, 2007 04:32
By Rachel Breitman
NEW YORK (Reuters) - How do people get ahead in the workplace? One way seems to be by making their subordinates miserable, according to a study released on Friday.
In the study to be presented at a conference on management this weekend, almost two-thirds of the 240 participants in an online survey said the local workplace tyrant was either never censured or was promoted for domineering ways.
"The fact that 64.2 percent of the respondents indicated that either nothing at all or something positive happened to the bad leader is rather remarkable -- remarkably disturbing," wrote the study's authors, Anthony Don Erickson, Ben Shaw and Zha Agabe of Bond University in Australia.
Despite their success in the office, spiteful supervisors can cause serious malaise for their subordinates, the study suggested, citing nightmares, insomnia, depression and exhaustion as symptoms of serving a brutal boss.
The authors advocated immediate intervention by industry chiefs to stop fledgling office authoritarians from rising up the ranks.
"As with any sort of cancer, the best alternative to prevention is early detection," they wrote.
They faulted senior managers for not recognizing the signs of workplace strife wrought by bad bosses. "The leaders above them who did nothing, who rewarded and promoted bad leaders ... represent an additional problem."
The study will be presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management, a research and teaching organization with nearly 17,000 members, from Sunday to Wednesday in Philadelphia.
hahaha...Letting their ‘bosses’ make them miserable? No wonder they are ‘subordinates’....
The people doing the promoting are those people who have already been promoted for being ‘bad bosses’.....
Sounds quite a bit like “The Peter Principle” may be at work here. Perhaps something worse. Either way it is not good for American business, as are so many other things these days.
couldn’t be more true in US govt offices
I see evidence of the truth of this regularly at my work.
My experience has been that people who get results (or are perceived to get results) get promoted. Being domineering and/or manipulative plays helps to some degree. While that approach may not yield the best results, it may be enough to make the person in charge appear effective.
What I am sure of is that bosses who try to be everyone’s friend are a recipe for disaster. Bosses have to make hard decisions at times—not everyone will be happy with the outcome.
Me too. The problem is that senior management confuse aggression and rudeness with assertiveness and competence. Superficially they can after all appear to be the same.
The simple fact is that bosses who merely bully people into “performing” are incompetent by definition. You can force people to work, you can never force them to work “well”.
Theres nothing dishonorable in wanting to do a job as opposed to telling people how to do the job. The world needs indians as well as chiefs. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that a major problem with industry today is a surfeit of managers, consultants, team leaders, and project coordinators while there are too few actual techies, engineers and tradesmen who actually do the work.
Funny thing, I was commenting on ‘subordinates’ complaining about how their boss ‘makes’ them miserable...that is too funny...someone who lets their boss affect their mood would find something else to bother them if that boss is removed from the equation...
“I see evidence of the truth of this regularly at my work.”
Same thing where I work. Big time!
A boss who affects misery expects to see it. In 31 years of business, I've seen all kinds. The taskmasters are the worst and they seldom reach the lofty places because of it.
Just my two cents but this the way I see it, good or bad. Unfortunately, if those companies who choose to ignore the greatest asset and actually crap all over them, that asset moves to another company and the walls come tumbling down.
Unfortunately for me, I am at acompany now where I am well liked but there is a major department where I see the “just get results” attitude taking place at the expense of the subordinates who are being threatened and crap’d all over...just a matter of time before those walls break...Results look great now but I would say 50% of those crap’d on assets have their resumes out the door.
No data on the success rate of these companies...
My manager dared to correct her boss in a meeting. He had mentioned the date of an event and she merely corrected the date for him. During a break in the meeting he took her aside and sternly warned her never to correct him in public again.
You couldn't be more correct. I see it everyday. Incompetence is rewarded and competency is is snuffed out. No wonder we are where we are....
I beg to differ. Sure there are some who are perpetual worriers, but there are many more who aren’t.
“couldnt be more true in US govt offices”
State of Illinois govt offices too. Man, I have stories...
No wonder you call yourself “Old Grumpy”.
It is also true that managers reflect the culture of upper management. My son, a software programmer, has been wanting a promotion. I explained to him that would make him part of the team of upper management that he criticizes. He will have to convince them that he is one of them to get it.
In my last Fortune 500, Corporate could not care less if a subsidiary Napolean was running a Death Camp, as long as the numbers looked good. See No Evil.
Even though I am retired (in disgust) I am left with an eternal hatred of middle managers. It strikes me, after all these years watching it, that more people have not Gone Postal.
It is a tribute to the responsibility and restraint of the American Gun Owner, because many of these sadistic, inept bastards truly deserve it.
I have the best boss on the planet. Yesterday I was paid to watch TV for 2 hours, was forced to take 2 30 min. breaks due to the heat. The day before, i was paid for 10 hours to drive her from Lansing to the Detroit area so she could go shopping and ws treated to dinner at a french resturant....even dinner was on the clock.
Too bad more of my fellow FReepers couldnt have employers like mine.
I quoted article: ‘miserable’...
If a ‘boss’ “makes” someone miserable (how someone as superfluous as a boss can do that is beyond me), run don’t walk to the door...life is too short...
While being domineering and/or manipulative may not yield the best results, it certainly is enough to make the person in charge appear effective at my plant, RBG81.
One of my more perceptive coworkers pointed out, some time back, that most of what passes for “leadership” in our medium-sized factory is simply the willingness to force people to do stupid things, at the whim of the higher-ups.
For instance, we’ll run 24000 cases of product A today, 8000 of product B tonight, and then 3000 more of A again tomorrow, just because the computer schedule says so. When we jump thru such hoops, we’re probably earning a feather for our team leader’s cap, as the schedule hashing is probably covering up a a supply/delivery manager’s mistake.
Problem is, that’s a luxury few people can afford even if they have a year or more salary sitting in the bank to look for a new position.
Take my job, for example. VERY specialized, very in demand, but also very small, and the managers/execs in this field all know each other. IOW, if they want to, one boss can ruin your rep NATIONALLY with just a few phone calls.
Don’t think that weighs heavily on your mind when pondering a job change?
Wow, just like women.
“very in demand”...”one boss can ruin your rep NATIONALLY”
Slight disconnect...not ‘very’ much demand, if a highly qualified applicant can be left on the sidelines....
There is some truth to this. But we must also acknowledge that the boss that cannot discipline subordinates and cannot fire dead weight will not have a high performing unit.
It sounds like you've made that work for you. You been self-employed or something?
What you're suggesting sounds like you either are a very young man without much practical experience, or an older man who has come up with some answers.
Care to clue us in? A lot of folks would agree with what you're saying, but real-life prevents them from acting on it.
You got some valuable insight you can give us, or are ya just 25 years + and unemployed?
"Same thing where I work. Big time!"?
They had to do a "study" on this?
Anybody could have told them that for free.
Yup. Better that everyone should think him a fool, rather than merely mistaken.
State of Iowa.
Heard 'em already.
He went on to create an example: A beautician who's not as talented as the others has time on her hands, gets involved with the beauticians' union, and eventually winds up running whole industry.
This is a Ustinov's Corollary to the Peter Principle.
“You been self-employed or something?”
Let’s go with ‘something’
“either are a very young man......, or an older man”
Very? No, just young enough...
“You got some valuable insight you can give us, or are ya just 25 years + and unemployed?”
Haven’t worked since I told a ‘boss’ to go to He!! in Jan. ‘82...
What I was trying to convey in earlier posts is that ‘life is too short’, being made ‘miserable’ by the actions/perceived actions of others just doesn’t make sense to me...
It’s definitely worse. A significant reason these jerks are not fired is palpable fear in the HR department, fear of an EEOC complaint.
“yo rise to the level of your incompetence”
you rise to the level of your incompetence
Promotion is easy, just golf with your boss and badmouth everyone he hates. Works like a charm. Oh yeah, almost forgot, always let him win.
I forgot to mention always remove your brown lipstick after a day on the links with the big boss.
I wonder if bad bosses, as measured here, are those that implement their bosses’ policies and demands to the letter, and absolutely inflexibly. If you do exactly what your boss tells you, and the company doesn’t run very well, and you don’t develop any talent, you probably won’t be blamed; your obedience is short-term gratification to your boss, and he’d have to share in any blame. And in sharing that blame, if he is amenable to change, he’ll at least feel empowered to make any change he deems necessary,
OTOH, if you are flexible and you succeed, your success might threaten your boss or stand out among his other subordinates.
The solution is for someone in top management to be VERY on the ball, and look at production workers as prospects, and look beyond how well policies and procedures are implemented to see how well talent is developing. Unfortunately, a growing movement to understanding motivating workers is being counter-balanced by a sense that all employees are here today and gone tomorrow; while workers need to be treated like prospects, they are treated, instead, like free agents. And the more they are treated like free agents, the more they behave like free ahents.
Well, good for you, I guess! You seem to be alive and kicking and able to pay for your ISP, so I guess something must have come along for you.
Ironic though, January of '82 was when I started at the company I'm going to retire from in 6 months. I can' tell you how many times I wanted to say that, but I needed the money.
The way to get ahead is to take credit for everything good that happens and successfully blame your subordinates for everything bad that happens. And become highly skilled at the art of kissing up and pissing down.
It’s like a troop of monkeys sitting in a tree. Looking up all you see is aholes, but looking down it’s nothing but smiiiling faces.
You can’t keep the good ones and you can’t get rid of the bad ones.
That is easier said than done, as others have mentioned.
Sometimes you live somewhere where there are few good jobs.
You like your job and do it well and thrive... until an affirmative action hire comes along who is uneducated, can't do the work herself, and was going to be canned but threatened to sue...
Her insecurities create a palpable unrest in the department and everyone seems happier when she is on vacation or out with one of her chronically faked injuries.
It's nice to be wealthy enough or whatever to not work, but most of us want and need jobs. I refuse to let an incompetent drive me out, but back to the title of the article, all I see are "bad bosses" getting promoted.
So true. Apparently the dolt who was behind the Passport fiasco just got promoted.