Monday, October 21, 2013

Poor Leaders Drive Good People Away

A friend of mine in another state recently resigned from her job.

She was excellent at what she did and had received rave reviews from colleagues about the quality of her work.

She wasn’t upset about her pay, and she liked her coworkers.

So what caused her to take this drastic action?

Her boss.

This manager manifests the classic “bad boss” characteristics that you often see in the Dilbert comic strip.

We laugh at the absurdity of the depictions and think, “That could never happen.”

Until you see it right before your very eyes. And then there’s no denying it.

This boss:
- Never smiled or greeted my friend in a friendly way when she came into work
- Rarely spoke to her, except to criticize or challenge her decisions
- Questioned her knowledge, experience and expertise in front of others
- Called meetings without warning to critique her performance

Her efforts to talk directly with the manager failed, and my friend received no support from the “higher-ups.”

Imagine going into work every day and wondering not if but when the other shoe is going to drop.

The knots in your stomach, the anticipation of the next attack…

Over a period of months, her self-confidence was stripped. She stopped laughing. Her normal sense of joy and delight in the world became severely damaged, and she withdrew from favorite activities with her loved ones.

So finally, one day, she decided she'd had enough.

She realized that the unknown looked better than the known, and she was no longer willing to tolerate such working conditions. So she quit.

I felt a mix of emotions when I heard her story.

I was saddened that such an outstanding human being had to face such adversity and abuse.

I was disgusted and outraged that this organization kept such a dysfunctional person in a key leadership role.

But most importantly, I was proud of her courage to take a stand and follow through with the steps necessary to take care of herself.

Her employer lost a valuable asset. And unfortunately, it appears that no one there will ever understand the real reason. I wonder how many other positive contributors will exit because of this one manager.

An emotionally healthy work environment requires leaders who build strong relationships with those in their charge.

They trust and genuinely care about the members of their team.

They don’t let their egos get in the way, so they freely admit when they’re wrong and apologize.

They smile often, they listen, and they encourage.

They inspire others to want to give their best effort.

I hope my friend finds a place to work where her new boss exhibits these behaviors. After what she’s been through, she deserves to see what real leadership looks like.

“I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun.” - John D. Rockefeller, American business leader (1839-1937)

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