Mad Bad Bosses
These days anyone can end up being your boss. And I mean ANYONE.
Businesses (especially those that are strictly-online with no face-to-face interaction) are popping up all across the country and many serve no real or logical purpose at all. The range of modern-day business managers tend to span from the “paroled murderer” to the “recent anger management admit” to the “overnight, pole-dancing attorney-by-day” to the “meth-addicted, Board-certified pediatrician”. Nonetheless, for some reason, these businesses do find financial success. And as everyone knows, with business growth comes employment.
The upside of employment is the ability to pay your bills and maintain your daily lifestyle. The downside of employment can, among many possible end results, be your death. In July 2007, Georgia Police confirmed that “a business owner who was having financial problems shot and killed two of his employees after they asked him for a raise. The suspect in the murders, 38-year-old Rolandas Milinavicius, turned himself in to the East Point authorities” the following weekend1. The greatest catch-22 is that employers screen their employees, but employees see no need to screen their employers.
Have you ever experienced a mad bad boss?
In Leadership Quarterly (Fall, 2007), Florida State University studied how much bad bosses impacted the workplace. The study indicated that: approximately 40% of employees in the field of business believe that they worked for a bad boss; 39% indicated that managers failed to keep their promises; 37% reported that their bosses did not recognize their (the employee’s) work; 31% informed that their supervisor gave them "the silent treatment"; 27% confirmed receiving negative comments from managerial staff; 24% stated that their bosses invaded their privacy; 23% indicated that their supervisor blamed them or other workers to cover up personal mistakes.
The truth remains to be that there is no “face of sanity” – there never was and never will be. Psychological abnormality doesn’t look like anyone in particular. You cannot see sanity during an interview or even after being employed in your workplace for 17 years. Sanity or mental stability can appear as fast as a “Hello!” or an emailed confirmation message, and then disappear as fast as an awkward glance, a question or a burst of laughter. Individuals, like you, are trained to believe that employers are void of error, since your fragile state of employment is almost fully dependent upon your bosses’ abilities to evaluate and judge employee performance rationally. But do you honestly know the psychological state of your boss? In the same regard, we all accept that mankind is not without flaw. Therefore, the question for your boss is really not “How am I performing?”, but “Is my employer sane enough to evaluate my performance rationally?”
How to deal with screaming and yelling bosses at work
You may be able to assess your employer’s mental state by answering (to yourself) the following five questions:
1. During the interview process, did my boss hire me because I am competent to get the job done correctly or because he/she saw similarities of him/her in me? Employers who seek to hire individuals who mirror the employer’s characteristics may “snap” whenever their employees deviate from the employer’s way of thinking or behavior. Innovation or ambition can cause your boss to view you as a threat. Usually these types of employers will aim to keep you in assistant or associative roles, as opposed to seeing you progress ahead of them in the company.
2. Does my boss frequently joke, comment on or criticize my intellect or any other employee’s mental capacity? Many times, these innuendos are not jokes at all. Whether consciously or unconsciously, your employer may be projecting her own feeling about herself unto you. Individuals may take comfort in perceiving their own incompetency as a flaw in someone else, especially a subordinate. This behavior is also applicable in cases of various forms of prejudice and discrimination.
3. Does my boss encourage or foster an environment of intense secrecy or privacy? This is usually the case when individuals are securely hiding their own severe character flaws or participating in illegal activities of their own – in or out of the workplace. Be careful of these behaviors, since individuals working with this individual will more likely also become suspected, charged or prosecuted for illegal activities.
4. Does my boss seek praise or commendation for his work from me? Employers generally do not seek a “pat on the back” from their subordinates or employees at all. Usually employers seek out praise from their own direct report, if applicable. If your boss is frequently demanding praise or admiration for his work from his employees, this is usually a clear indication of serious and dangerous low self-esteem. The lack of such praise and admiration to your employer may induce harmful and violent outbursts by him later on.
5. Does my boss scream or yell pointlessly and abruptly for no reason at all? These behaviors also convey extreme or severe low self-esteem that can lead to harmful physical outbursts when ignored. Employers want to be noticed for their achievements. Employers usually elevate their voice within the workplace to reiterate their position, value or worth within the company.
These are a few simple ways to obtain a window into the psychological well-being of your employer. Don’t become a victim at the hands of your employer! In the end of the day, your employer is just another human being. If you have assessed that there is even a slight possibility that your boss is mentally unstable, you may choose to fight back by keeping a precise log or record of all your boss’ conversations, reactions and activities with you throughout the day. Feel free to record this information with your cell phone. Finally, alert your attorney and forewarn local law enforcement. You may also want to start a new job search or even consider starting your own business. Here is a great list of website to begin your job search. Either way… be safe, stay happy and live well.
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