Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rotten, Stinky Bosses Deserve a Shout Out, Too

So, I was feeling a little bad about my tendency to focus on rotten bosses, because other people are so determined to focus on the good stuff, and I was beginning to consider myself a Negative Nelly in comparison.

What got me thinking about this was a reader response to an article in which I’d asked, “What makes a bad boss?” The reader said she wanted to “turn the question around” and ask about good bosses, and that made me realize—

I think talking about good bosses is pretty damn boring.

Working with a good boss is fabulous (I’ve had a few so I know), and it’s not like good bosses (or those motivated to be good bosses) don’t need and warrant some attention and instruction. They do. I like to think that I’ve been a pretty good boss in my time, and I certainly learned a thing or two from reading about what makes a good boss.

But these days, my heart is somewhere else.

Because employees who want to do a good job don’t get all tied up into knots trying to figure out how to work with a good boss.

And employees don’t come home at night with a big old headache and only enough energy to plunk on the couch (or get in the bed) to watch a second-rate television show before they fall asleep, all the while obsessing on the latest foolish/cruel/frustrating/abusive actions of their good boss.

And I have yet to be contacted by an employee who needs advice because she’s at the end of her rope trying to please her can’t-be-pleased good boss.

You get the picture.

I write about bad bosses because people need help working with bad bosses, and sometimes I think they just need permission to call it like they see it and have someone say, “I get it. And yes, your boss is an asshole.”

So dear reader, feel free to reframe the question however you like. As for me, I will continue to call out the takers, and the cowards, and the bullies. Those who, unfortunately, have managed to attain some measure of authority and control and are using it to show the world how big of a deal they are at others’ expense.

The bad, rotten, stinky bosses.

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