This article was initiated by comments made in a series of meetings and interviews conducted with different groups of highly qualified professionals in various types of organizations including hospitals, health care organizations (Pharmaceuticals & medical devices) and other multinational organizations in such diverse areas such as banking, information technology, food & drink, consumer products, etc., in Spain, France and Italy over the past three years. It is not a comprehensive list as I have only listed the most common elements.
Some of the information comes from Health Care Professionals exclusively and have been included as similar behaviour has been identified in other organizations and contexts.
My reason for publishing these comments is to enable managers to consider how their actions are perceived by members of their team and how they affect the motivation, productivity and interpersonal relationships of the group. Continual introspection is a key part of becoming and maintaining the role of a leader and yet is often missing from those who desire to be perceived as a leader.
These elements are in no specific order
– Volunteers an over-worked, under-staffed and under-paid team for extra work without prior discussion in order to gain “brownie” points with management. E.g., the introduction of T.Q.M. and then gets angry when there is a negative reaction from the team members.
– Refuses to use and/or institute new protocols to streamline & improve efficiency while simultaneously promulgating the introduction of areas such as Total Quality Control.
– Wants to DO everything in every area of their department without being requested to by team members and without informing them of what has been done without their knowledge &/or permission within THEIR area or responsibility.
– Has worked for many years in the same organization and explicitly considers it as being more important than their only family.
– Shows clear favouritism by automatically protecting / defending old “friends” and refuses to correct these friends inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, irrespective of their obvious lack of professionalism, etc.
– Refuses to see all the manipulation & the power games being played by the “favoured few” and is therefore incapable of preventing or resolving it.
– Threatens line managers who wish to discuss their behaviour or disagree with decisions/actions taken and want to analyse the effects on motivation, perception, communication & interpersonal relationships.
– Gets angry & abusive with team members without having all the information available & instead of investigating what really happened using independent witnesses, just relies on what the “friends” have told them without considering their possible bias or hidden agendas.
– Takes unexplained absences without advising other senior staff members where / how she/he can be contacted in case of an emergency.
– Makes decisions about the working practices of other professional with equal or better qualifications & experience than them without prior consultation or advice.
– Is totally oblivious to the fact that motivation is very low in their team due almost totally to their inappropriate / unprofessional behaviour.
– Has a work philosophy that is: “Do as I say, not as I do.”
– In a hospital context, holds “meetings with, and listens to, only the chosen “elite” 3 or 4 specialists or juniors who did their residency in the hospital &/or had their dissertations supervised by them without advising / convoking the rest of the senior staff who do not have such a close relationship with them.
– Totally refuses to accept that there is the slightest possibility that they might have any flaws, defects or lacks. However, their most common phrase is “Sorry, I forgot!”
– Asks for written evaluations from senior staff and then, when they do not like what has been written, changes them – without consultation or permission – and then passes them on to senior management thereby making sure that management gets what it wants and NOT the truth!.
– Focus on protecting and advancing their own careers and those of their “special friends” and are interested in other people – excluding their own coterie – only as a means to achieving their own objectives.
– They automatically assume that other professional, dedicated people are a personal threat to them and do all they can, covertly, to ensure that they do not reach positions of power or influence – especially over them.
– In summary, a bad boss can be defined as one who working principally on their own emotions & feelings and tends to have great problems with people who are more logical, unemotional and objective – However, Bad Bosses will NEVER recognize or admit that they function in this way! They have the Ostrich Syndrome: heads in the ground.
I sincerely hope that these points will be considered by senior managers who will then honestly evaluate how many, if any, of the points indicated above could be applied to them. Any manager who aspires to be considered a leader needs to be actively and continually evaluating their own behavior in the workplace and how they are perceived by other employees and adapting their behavior accordingly.
© Ian Brownlee, Brownlee & Associates, S.L., March, 2013.