Dr. Renae Sanders
Imagine a workplace where the top official is a tyrant, a bully, a complete “donkey”! Belittling employees, frequent soliloquies (dialogue just does not occur), broken promises, subpar pay and boastful attitudes occur in many organizations and in some companies a litany of behaviors maybe documented. Bad behavior is occurs more in this down market than it did during the economic hay day of the past. This behavior is rampant in large and small organizations. But what toll does this take on organizations and its employees?
The impact of incivility on productivity and revenue in organizations are real, yet most business leaders are blind to the role they play in these circumstances and the impact of poor behavior on bottom-line results is clouded by perceptions of external factors and blaming “others” for organizational results. The truth is when you repeatedly chip away at coworker and employee confidence, self esteem, and creativity you are shooting your organization in the proverbial foot!
In fact, it seems these individuals get promoted rather than being dismissed. In this regard, short-term gains are given greater weight than long-term costs related to turnover, absenteeism, and increased healthcare costs (depression, hypertension, and stress), and even lawsuits from employees placed in harm’s way when a disgruntled, offended employee goes “postal” on colleagues.
Many books and articles have been written advising employees on how to cope with workplace tyrants and bullies. Yet, the real culprits are the organizational leaders who turn a blind eye on the bullies citing improved performance. Or the tyrannical leader who believes his or her behavior is the “authoritarian” style of leadership and who are blind to their own behavior.
You are an Office Tyrant if you believe:
- Your way is always the best or only way to be successful.
- Everyone is an imbecile except you
- Others can only hear you if you yell at them
- Employees should be able to read your mind
- Employees work for you and not for themselves or their families
- Insults are an effective motivational tool
- People have no value unless they are driving revenue (even if you hired them in a non-revenue generating role)
- If there were more people just like you in the world, the world would be a better place for everyone
As an employee, your ability to survive working for a tyrant is likely if your leadership team recognizes bad behavior as uncivil and costly to the organization and works to rectify the behavior via coaching, therapy, performance feedback, or time away for the office offender. Otherwise, your best bet is to find a new role away from these individuals and continue to contribute to your organization’s success. Unless, you are challenged by this type of work environment!
In large well branded companies, these behaviors may get lost or be hidden in the complexity of the organization, but in small companies that rely more heavily on employee loyalty, customer referrals, and reputation. Such behavior can have detrimental, often immediate, effects on the bottom-line. Thanks to technology and social media the world fits in the palm of everyone’s hands. Your business’ future rests on the influence of others’ tweets or Facebook posts.
If you are the tyrant, discover what beliefs you hold about others and leadership and modulate /correct bad behavior. We are all on the same team!
Dr. Renae Sanders is the Managing Director at KRS Consulting, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in organizational relationships. Believing people are the link between strategy and success, Dr. Sanders works with organizations, leaders, and managers to strengthen internal relationships. You can reach Dr. Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org.