Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Because I said so

JOEL SARTORE / National Geographic Stock
Because I said so, that's all you need to know. I don't have to explain myself to you. Who's in charge here, me or you? Do you value your job? Can you afford not to work here? Do I answer to you? Get it done or i'll (insert blind threat.) Does any of this sound familiar? Have you ever said any of these things to your people?

I've seen many articles and posts about bullies in the workplace. I would like to pose a question to you, As a leader are you a bully? Do you lead with an iron fist and as if you are a dictator of some small pacific island? If you lead with fear,threats and intimidation, then you are a bully.

What is my checklist for a bully masquerading as a leader?

  • Closed door policy: You don't want or need to hear from your people. They will be told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. There is only one way communication, you to them. There is no creativity, and no freedom for them to grow. 
  • Intimidation: Maybe it is done by abusive language, maybe it's done by physically imposing yourself on others. It's implied threats, or examples made of those who don't tote the party line. 
  • Manipulation: The workers are here for the furtherance of your career. You will use them up and go through however many you need to, just as long as you get the next promotion. Promises made, but never delivered on, you enjoy and encourage the brown noser.  
  • Fear of reprisal: You execute the first one that steps out of line, let everyone see the price that will be paid for going against your will. You have your people walking on eggshells, never knowing when the other fist will fall or the next tirade will erupt from you. You demote or phase-out those that are not party members.
  • You make your people feel insignificant in your presence. Geesh, don't they realize they are lucky to be here under my hand? You remind your people daily that their best will never do, no matter the effort given. When one does garner the courage to approach with a new idea, they are informed that's the stupidest thing you've ever heard. You do the work, I'll do the thinking. 
  • Do as I say, not as I do: I'm in charge here, I make the rules and that means that I don't have to follow them. You let your people know daily that indeed the corner office has it's perks and privileges. 
  • Glory hound: Yes that's right, this company would never make it without my awesome leadership. I get the most out of people and make my deadlines, no matter the human cost. I'm sorry, that wasn't your idea, that was mine. So I took the credit for it. I'm the leader of this department so anything good coming out of it was my divine inspiration. Oh the bad, well that's always someone else's fault, they will pay for there mistake.
Wow, I had to stop. I could added some more to this list. If these things don't sound like a bully, then I don't know what does. If your a leader doing any of the above. Stop it. You are sacrificing the very people you should be serving. It's not the other way around, your people are not there to serve you and ensure you get your next promotion. Wake up, get a clue or move to your own south pacific island. 

Have you ever experienced the bully disguised as a leader? How did they make you feel?

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