Saturday, April 14, 2020

News and Views: April 14th 2007

Bad bosses are expensive

It seems that more employees than ever are walking out on maddening managers, at least in countries like Australia, where unemployment is low. A survey found that 82% of respondents had left a job rather than put up with a boss who acted like a jerk. Around 75% claimed that they would turn a job down, even one with higher pay, if the boss had a bad reputation. In a time when there is said to be a scarcity of talent, that’s a cost that could really do with being cut back hard. Hidden in the text is an even worse statistic: more than half of the people questioned said their manger did not always keep their word or provide leadership. Why do companies put up with these idiots in so-called leadership positions? Could it be that the guys at the top are no better? [link] [via]

The leader’s link to creativity and productivity

I usually enjoy what Dan Bobinski writes for Management Issues. This article is no exception. It includes this great quote from Dr. William Glasser: “Bossed workers tend to pay no attention to their creativity because they know it is not wanted; no one will listen to them anyway. Stifling creativity (which is easily stifled—a derisive look may do it forever) may be the worst effect of bosses.” it’s all too easy to blame employees for lacking creativity, but the truth is that far too many senior managers are not nearly as good at engaging the creativity and interest of their employees as they think that they are. [link]

Who benefits?

Wall Street never loses its appetite for corporate mergers, the bigger the better. Why would it? The banks and various advisers make megabucks on every one. Top managers also seem to love mergers and acquisitions, mostly because gobbling up other organizations boosts their egos. So who loses out? Shareholders, it seems, in a big way. And employees, naturally, since most mergers bring huge job losses. Oh . . . and the customers, since, according to this survey, more than 90% of mergers and acquisitions don’t work as planned—or at all. You can argue over the reasons, but the truth seems to lie in the old adage about never giving a sucker an even break. So long as management egotism abounds, others will see it as a license to print money. [link]

A rose-tinted view of innovation

Yet more evidence of smugness and complacency at the top. While senior-level executives are more likely to be satisfied with their organization’s innovation in products and technology, their professional technocrats, such as engineers and programmers, are the least satisfied. Nearly three quarters of senior-level executives say they are satisfied, yet just six out of 10 professional employees feel the same way, rising to seven out of 10 mid-level managers. The higher you go, the smugger you get. [link]

Can’t get no respect no mo’

Bosses are also human, of course (yes, they really are), and some in Great Britain have been talking to The Guardian about disrespectful staff, disloyalty, and all the whining that goes on. It seems that the peons are revolting in more ways than one—ten, to be precise. See the workplace from the point of view of a poor, misunderstood executive. Great fun! [link]

Nine things a leader needs to do to build and maintain trust

Kent Blumberg offers nine great ideas on how to create more trust—an essential element in a civilized workplace, and one that is all too often the victim of mindless Hamburger Management. Here are two essential points from the list: “1. Always tell the truth. If you can’t answer a question, explain why. The smallest lie kills trust.” and “5. The more micromanagement and rules, the lower the level of trust. Rules imply lack of trust. Micromanagement implies the same.” [link]

Baby Boomers in the driving seat

As a Baby Boomer myself, this article interested me. It seems that, in Great Britain at least, the over-50 population now command approximately 80% of the total wealth. It also claims that: “people aged between 52 and 60, have achieved a form of perfect work/life balance that Generation X—people in their 20s, 30s and 40s—strive for but may never afford.” I didn’t know I was so fortunate. “Perfect” work/life balance, eh? Seems what they really mean is that we oldies have saved and got pensions and now have money to burn. Ummm . . . not sure about that last bit. [link]

12 Tips for Creating Lasting Change in Your Life

Here’s an interesting list, compiled by M.J. Ryan. I like: “Make it Non-negotiable” and “Come Up with Solutions for Your Usual Excuses.” Here’s the best: “We’re doing the best we can. We will mess up or forget. When we do, our task is to hold ourselves in love. You and I are human beings dealing with the challenges of growth. When we treat ourselves with kindness, we don’t collapse into shame or guilt, but can try again with greater wisdom for having faltered.” [link]

“Desk Rage?”

We all know about Road Rage. Now here’s an odd little piece about the perils of “Desk Rage.” Well, maybe not so odd when you recall the cases, some very recent, where disgruntled employees have gone into their place of work, armed with a gun, and killed fellow workers. It appears that: “22% of American workers report having been driven to tears as a result of workplace stress; and 9% . . . report that physical violence has occurred at their workplace due to stress.” Scary stuff! [link]

Lack of Control of Work Hours Leads to Burnout

Doctors, we know, often work terrible hours and face stresses the rest of us fortunately never have to deal with. So this is an interesting report, since it claims to show that it isn’t the hours, or the pressures themselves, that cause burnout, but the sense of having no control. In general, the analysis of the results revealed that female and male physicians are highly satisfied with their careers, but: “The strongest predictors of whether physicians will experience burnout and career dissatisfaction are how much control they have over their schedules and over the total number of hours worked in a week.” That seems to me to be true in other professions too. Lacking control over your own work schedule and the number of hours of work that you do each week is such a basic human need that being deprived of it must undermine your whole sense of being in charge of your life. If you feel that you’re on a treadmill that you can neither slow down nor stop, burnout is just around the corner. [link]

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Rhea said...

In the U.S., too, baby boomers have the bucks. I just hope we do something good with it. Charitable donations and so on.

6:35 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Let's hope so, Rhea.

Even better than charitable donations would be to use that purchasing power to force organizational change in areas like greater environmental awareness and better attention to products that don't contain cheap but unhealthy additives.

Thanks for your comment. Keep reading, my friend.

6:49 AM  
Kent Blumberg said...

First of all, thanks so much for the link to my post about building trust. I've learned a lot about that topic from your website - you always seem to hit the nail on the head when you write about trust and mistrust.

Second, thanks for the interesting article about mergers. The article points out that mergers may fail because managers pay lots of attention to integrating IT and reporting systems (hardware) and often give short shrift to the people side of mergers (software). Folks, it's people that make it happen - not IT!

Finally, great information about burnout and schedules. I wrote Friday about the need to take vacation - wish I had seen this article before I hit the "publish" button.


2:09 PM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Thanks for your comment, Kent.

I'm glad that you found some items useful. I also found the M&A; article a fascinating proof of the need for leaders to consider leadership more as a biological science than a numerical one.

Keep reading, my friend.

2:43 PM  
Jerome Alexander said...

Comment on: "Can’t get no respect no mo'..."

If there's any single reason behind the revolt of
these "disloyal" employees, it's the revolting behaviors of their managers.

I've devoted a section of my blog to publishing chapters from the "Double Secret" handbook for bad executives. While whimsical
yarns spun from my conspiratorial mind, they are not based upon pure fantasy. There is truth behind the fiction.

A good look in the mirror by these jerks might reveal it. Doubtful!

8:54 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Thanks for your comment and the heads up on your web site, Jerome.

Please give us the URL for your blog, so interested readers can visit.

I agree with you 100% about revolting managers. My own view is that the state of subordinates is always a pretty direct reflection of their leader: sullen, miserable staff indicate a leader who has no heart; anxious staff show a petty tyrant is in charge; happy, creative teams reflect cheerful, open-minded leaders.

If the staff are poor, don't blame them. Blame the idiot who made them like that.

Keep reading, my friend.

9:26 AM  
Jerome Alexander said... Enjoy!

3:36 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Thanks! Here's a link.

7:25 AM  

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