Is Your Boss Really A Boss
Every now an then we all work with a disgruntled employee. I have over 30 years of management experience and over 20 years as an educator. I am a contributing writer on many forums such as Quora. I have a best-selling book about management and employee relations, which is now a tutorial on Udemy.com. I believe it is safe to say that if not an expert on this topic, my experience and accolades makes me qualified to discuss it. I am wrapping up another lecture tutorial on How To Become A Better Manager, which will be available on Udemy soon.
Besides my formal education, I owned by own business for 17 years. I have worked in corporate management as a supervisor, and middle to upper level management. The most important lessons I learned were not in school. They were from interacting with people. Making my own mistakes and learning from them, as well as learning from a wide variety of fellow workers along the way. In today's work force, over 70% of people are not working at jobs they like. Over 90% of the work force does not like who they work for, and over 43% of workers with college degrees are underemployed. I totally agree with online degrees. There was a need for method for those who wished to further their education but were limited by time or other factors. However, this has flooded the worker force with people holding degrees, which is the reason for that 43% number. Also, we now have a situation where a Bachelors degree does not hold the value it used to and since so many who hold them are not employed in their field, they are gaining little experience. Employers are now beginning to seek individuals with post-graduate degrees. In the upcoming years, will the market place be filled with so many post-graduate degree individuals that only someone with a PhD will get a job? Do you think that is an interesting thought? IT could happen. There is an old saying that I believe not only applies to education, but also to the "BOSS."
"When one student in a classroom is not learning, it is probably the student. When the entire class is not learning, it is probably the teacher."
"When one worker is viewed as doing a poor job, it's probably the worker. When all workers are viewed that way, it's probably the boss or the system of management."
This is not merely a saying, it's the truth. As an educator for over 20 years, I can't tell you how many times I have seen this play out. Especially part two, in the work place. Let's move on.
How many times have you heard this; "I'm the boss and this is the way I want it done," or "Just do what I tell you to do." How does that make you feel? You probably feel like a piece of crap and not appreciated. Most important, how does that affect the rest of your day? Do you continue to give 100%? Of course you don't. No one would. No one likes to feel incapable, or being spoken down to. This is NOT a good trait for any boss. Every individual has something to offer. A leader finds that, a boos doesn't listen.
BOSS VS. LEADER:
First we need to get something clarified. If someone is a boss, they are missing the boat. A boss will always be ineffective and usually not respected by their employees. However, a leader will always be effective and have the respect of their employees. EMPLOYEES, another BS word. The term employee is not personal. Is does not give the workers, which are the people that actually get the job done, the feeling that they are part of the company or part of a team. The word staff is more effective. However, the words TEAM MEMBER, makes everyone who works at a company feel as if they have a stake in it's success, providing the management team treats then like a member of the team. Oh yes, I have heard many superiors I have worked under state we are a team, yet, they do not treat people as team members. They use the word as a moral booster but do not back it up by how they treat them.
Personally, I find that insulting. Do they actually think that people are that stupid? I once sat in on a weekly management meeting and the individual running the meeting stated; "I want to hear everyone's opinion and get your input." After everyone gave they thoughts and discussed it, the entire management staff agreed on a solution. The person running the meeting than said, "Thank you all for you opinion, but I have already made my decision." Are you friggin kidding me? The hour we spent discussing this was a complete waste of time. That individuals mind was already made up, and their attempt to trying to appease us, simply did not work. How insulting. THAT IS NOT A LEADER. THAT IS A BOSS, and not even a good one at that.
The issue is, this is the mentality of the vast majority of managers and supervisors in the work place today. In all fairness, sometimes that is what they have become due to the pressures put on them from above. Leadership starts at the top. It flows down through the ranks when implemented properly. The size of the company does not matter. Many companies do NOT adhere to this style of management. Therefore, they are successful. Remember, a successful company is not just determined by it's bottom line, it is also determined if they are a good company to work for. Do they provide good benefits? Do they have a high turnover rate?
Companies with a high turnover rate in their workforce should be trying to figure out what they are doing wrong. Why don;t people want to stay here? Of course, there are companies that for many, are steeping stones to their next level of job achievement. That is what is referred to as, "Normal turnover rate." However, if a company is constantly hiring forty or 50 people, and only 10 or 15 are staying, it;s time to look at why.
A great deal of a the way company treats their employees is determined by supply and demand. Meaning, when good workers are hard to find because unemployment is very low, a company has to do it better than the next one. However, when the unemployment is high and there is a large group of unemployed people to choose from, they do not care how they treat their employees. Another statement I have heard in meetings; "If they don't like it, fuck them, I have 200 more applications on my desk to choose from." Is this a boss or a leader? I shouldn't even have to answer that question.
Look at this picture. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand it. Now ask yourself. Do you work for a boss or a leader? Also ask yourself, which one would you rather work for? I love this picture and use it often when I speak at a company's event.
Many companies are great for introducing new programs. You know the type. The ones that make you say, "This is good. Maybe things will change." After some time goes by, nothing changes. They will spend millions incorporating and training their team members on these new ideals, and never do anything with them. Than, when the bottom line isn't where it should be, especially at review time, who pays for that wasted money? No. I am not a disgruntled employee. I work for myself. However, I have been, and all these things I mentioned, which many of you are presently experiencing, are the reasons. How many times have you heard this. "He/She is friends with the boss, nothing will happen to them." Let me be the first to tell you, that is TRUE. It is discriminatory, unfair, unacceptable, and lowers moral. Is that a boss or a leader?
NOW LET'S LOOK AT WHY:
There are many reasons supervisors and managers are like this, and many times it is not their fault. The first reason is lack of experience or training. A company, in order to save money, will hire someone with far less experience, because they can get them at a lesser salary. Many companies are hung up on a college degrees. A college degree does NOT provide a person with experience. Although I believe people need to have one in today's world, the person with a greater degree of experience will ALWAYS perform better than someone with a college degree and no experience. I know this from my experience with hiring people. That person with the degree needs to earn their wings. Start at the bottom, and get the experience. However, without the proper company training, they will always end up being a boss. Proper training is key. Many companies give them the one or two day walk through and throw them to the wolves and expect immediate results. They do not have a mentor to work with to guide them along the way. Another problem is, the "new-bee," will most times NOT go to their superior for advice. They rarely will ever ask questions for fair of being looked upon as stupid by their superiors. Another phrase I have heard management people say is;"This is what I hired you for, get it done.If I have to do it myself, I don't need you."
Now, that person is on the hot seat. How do you expect them to interact with their work force?
Another problem is what is referred to as "The Good Ole' Boy Club." These are people that because they drink and socialize together, will take care of each other. Meaning, they will post a promotional job just to keep the process within company guidelines and legal. However, they already know who is going to get the promotion. Therefore, no matter how hard anyone works and may be more deserving pf the position, they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting it. When that plays out, this discourages the work force. It does not promote a team approach. Therefore, the people that do the work, do not feel like part of the team they are were told they are. Their moral drops, their production slows, and the problems begin. But where did they begin? At the worker, or the top? I've worked for companies that were known for doing this. I also suggested that interviews and recommendations be done by an unbiased source. Haaa .... guess how far that got me?
The last reason I want to mention is one of the more common reasons. FEAR! Everyone is afraid of losing their job to another. A leader promotes the attitude of making people want to do a better job. They do not fear that another person will steal their job. A good manager is determined by how they motivate their staff, get the job done properly, with the least amount of cost, and on time. If that manager has a strong team underneath them, and succeeds in reaching those goals, they will not lose their job to anyone on their staff underneath them. A leader does not fear those who are beneath them in the management chain, a boss does. Support from above is paramount in any management team at any level. When you do not trust the person you report to, there is no successful working relationship.
I have also seen times when someone falls out of the good graces of someone for any number of reason. Now, "The Boss" decides they want to get rid of them. Rather than sit dowm with them and help them, they set them up for failure. They can accomplish this in many ways. Give them impossible goals to reach, setting up other employees against them, not responding to their problems or email requests, and worst of all, taking sides. Let me be perfectly clear on this. THIS IS NOT A LEADER. THIS IS A BOSS. I once worked for someone I had a high degree of respect for. In the beginning, I learned a great deal from this person. In time, after seeing many of the things I have mentioned above, I lost all respect for that person. Keep this one though in mind.
"If you see them doing this to others, that means the same can happen to you!"
Many years back, a great company I worked for wanted to change their management style. Back then, and even now, Japan is known as the leader in good management principles. Myself and two other managers were sent to Japan for a two week seminar on their management style. Actually, it was a certified course. I learned a great deal. We brought back their concepts to our company. The company I worked suffered from many of the things mentioned in this blog post and realized they needed to change. However, only after a new CEO was hired. They liked many of the concepts we brought back and incorporated them. Others would not work for our industry. In a short time, our company changed from one that had a high turnover rate of people, to one that now was a company everyone wanted to work for. I would have stayed with them for many more years because they had the right management approach. However, due to the type of industry it was, they moved their operations overseas. They did offer me a position to move with them, but I could do that at the time.
With all this said, sometimes it is not the fault of the individual person. It is the fault of the upper level management that puts an individual in this position. Let's face it, everyone needs to keep their job. In those cases, I can sympathize some. However, they still have a choice of how they get the job done and how they treat people. Therefore, I won't let them totally off the hook.
What about change? Will it ever change? Honestly, I don't think so. The reason being, most large companies are owned by "bean counters," meaning, all they are investment groups and only care about the bottom line. There do not care how it gets achieved, or who gets screwed along the way. We live in a world that is driven by money. Make the numbers, are they will replace you with someone who will. For the most part, our workforce is just a number in someone's computer. They become people at the lower levels of management, and individuals to their co-workers. When management is weak or poorly managed, there is no mercy. Nothing is fair, it will always be the; "My way or the highway" attitude. Some workers like unions, others do not. However, although I am a retired firefighter, I am still a member of the union. Unions are not the right fit for some companies. The companies that treat people fairly have a work force that usually do want or need a union. These are far and few between. For the rest, a union is a must, providing it is a strong union, and the union members support it. That is our workplace today and the management style of the vast majority of managers and supervisors out their. For this reason, we are not longer the leaders of the world in this area any longer. Could that change, will that change? Anything is possible. However, for anything to change, the company must first realize there is a need for change, want change, and implement in at all levels. Until those with the old mentality either shape up or ship out, change cannot occur. That is true for anything in life. One of my favorite quotes from an older TV show called The Newsroom, Jeff Daniels played Will McAvoy, a journalist. At the end of a speech he made in Season 1 Episode 1, 2012, he ended it with the following statement, which I believe is one of the strongest statements I have ever heard.
"The first step in solving any problem is realizing there is one."
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