April 11, 2024

Bosses Gone Bad

Motivational speaker, Jacques de Villiers writes about bad bosses.

Jacques de Villiers – writing quest: Article 52/365

There’s been a narrative going around for as long as I can remember that employees leave bosses not companies. 

The blame is placed squarely on the leaders’ shoulders.

A 2019 DDI study found that 57% of employees have quit because of their boss and 37% have thought about leaving because of their manager.

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

The late Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister

I don’t think this is the whole story, and that one can’t point a finger at only leaders.

The employee (the victim) and the company (perpetrator)  have to take some responsibility too. 

You can’t blame everything on your leaders. 

What the studies don’t tell you is the calibre of employees that were interviewed. Perhaps they weren’t performing and as is typical in human nature, they blamed something/one else for their shortcoming? It’s easy to say that it’s the manager’s fault. Perhaps they left before they were about to be fired for not doing their job? Perhaps they were the malevolent rotten apples that should never have been hired in the first place. 

You can’t turn shit into steel. I’ve led teams in the military and corporate settings. I’ve seen employees behaving unethically. I recently wrote about employees who lie about being sick and take all their sick leave. It’s probably not politically correct to say, but any employee spending time on personal social media during work hours is technically stealing. Remember in the ‘old days’, it was the equivalent of playing solitaire on your computer. But, if we use this as a yardstick, then the lot of us are guilty.  

Leaders often encounter employees who try to take as much as they can from the organisation without contributing much towards its goals. One can hardly expect a manager to develop a weak character into something of value.  Dealing with employees who lack motivation and a strong work ethic can be challenging, and downright demotivating.

I challenge any leader reading this article who has had an employee that isn’t pulling his weight, and hasn’t thought, “F&*k this, I just want to fire his ass.”

Is it possible for leaders to improve? Of course. From a communication and function role, this is easy.

Is it possible for employees to improve? Of course. They can go from a rights-based mindset (taking as much as they can from the organisation that’s feeding them) to a duties-based mindset (giving more than they get).

And, I don’t even think this is an issue of poor leadership or morally bankrupt employees. It’s a human issue.

There are only two ways to deal in this world. We’re either here to get or to give. The more immature and selfish we are, the more we take. The more mature and selfless we are, the more we give. And, that’s really the crux of it, isn’t it? There are two camps: the takers and the givers.

I disappear so that others can appear.

Sufi Saying

Also, it may not be a leadership issue, but rather a company culture issue. Most companies still view employees as resources to get a result (it’s taught at every business school). So they take as much as they can from the employee, leaving them burnt out. So, leaders are basically Oberleutnants following the Fuhrer’s orders (culture).

Let’s take this from a human, metaphysical and spiritual angle. Why do we attract ‘bad’ bosses, ‘kak employees’ and ‘crap cultures’ to ourselves? It’s purely a function of our vibration and mindset. 

1. It’s not you, it’s me. If you look at the Krebs Drama Triangle Victims will always attract perpetrators (‘bad’ bosses). When I worked in corporations, every boss I had was wonderful. But that’s because I wear rose-tinted glasses and have a positive view of the world. The world just mirrors what you put out there.

2. Welcome the ‘bad’ boss, he or she may be the best lesson you ever received. Petty Tyrants drive one to distraction. My first boss was a hardened journalist and treated me and my writing like I was a two-year-old with a crayon. He had me in tears more often than I cared for. But, he was a genius. I sucked it up and learned everything I could from him. He turned me into the writer I am today. Etsko Schuitema wrote a great piece on Petty Tyrants

3. Hurt people hurt people. According to the Map of Consciousness, 85% of humanity has a  frequency under 200 hz (shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger and pride). If both the boss and the employee are coming from this state, it’s not going to work out at all.

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