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Oct 1
What Bad Bosses Can Learn From "The Jerk"

As is customary for me in the first week of the Intro to Management course I teach, I’ll ask the students about the worst boss they’ve ever worked for. Here are some of the responses so far:

My manager is so annoying the way he micromanages. The worst thing about him is that his breath is so horrible it will make you lose your appetite. He stays in my face and it is so annoying. He will tell you do something and then five minutes later come to you and ask where you are with it.

The worst manager I ever worked for was at a Caseys. I had Strep Throat and she came to my house to tell me that she removed me from the schedule, because I got sick. Then she proceeded to tell me not to come back. I did have a doctor’s slip saying I was contagious, she refused to even look at it.

The worst manager I ever had was a store manager at a Walmart. I took on a position, several years ago, to earn some extra Christmas money. This guy had to be the most arrogant person in the world! He was constantly chastising people, but doing the same actions - when he thought no one was looking! He wrote people up for being two minutes late, even when they were coming in unscheduled! UGH! The final straw was, one day he told me that I would never find a job as good as Walmart. Hello, what planet was he on? I promptly quit and two days later they were begging me to come back! Negative attitudes never win!

Well, I have had several actually. I had one that would constantly put all of her staff down & then she would wonder why everyone would quit on her. My area manager never wanted you to advance. I had to keep it a secret that I was going to school. She fired several people that were going to college to improve their future. I think if you are a good manager & effective you would encourage & uplift your employees.

JerkGood managers always encourage and uplift their employees! Today I was flipping channels (rainy day here in MD) and happened upon one of my favorite movies, The Jerk. Now I’ve seen this silly picture many times, but the scene that was on I’d never really paid attention to until today. Harry Hartounian (Jackie Mason) hires the completely inept Navin Johnson (Steve Martin) to work for him at his gas station. Johnson is willing and works hard but simply has no technical skills or common sense. His boss however is extremely patient, always encouraging, and refuses to ever become negative with him. Every interaction is uplifting and positive.

I wonder why more managers don’t see how this simple attitude can really make a difference in their employees? Why do so many choose to focus on the negative, treating employees like so many emotionless machines.

What encourages me is a new generation now moving into management that really sees the value in people skills. While it might eventually put me out of work as a management consultant, I sure wouldn’t complain.

Take a moment this week and reflect on your attitude. Would somebody refer to you as a “manager from hell?” Think about how embarrassing it would be to see your interaction with employees on a blog like this….

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