Britain is a Nation of Nightmare Bosses

Margot Katz, international business coach, and author of Tarzan & Jane how to thrive in the new corporate jungle, has released a guide  for handling nightmare bosses “The Un-magnificent Seven” following research into the disturbing state of UK management.

85% of survey respondents have suffered a nightmare boss with 49% leaving their job because of them and even 1 in 5 calling in sick to avoid them.

You would think that business can’t run without leaders or managers, however 61% of respondents didn’t agree, saying it wouldn’t make a difference at all if they didn’t have their boss and it might possibly be easier without them.

“The Un-magnificent Seven” identifies the main types of nightmare bosses, how they can improve and how, as an employee, you can best deal with them.

  1. The Bully e.g. Sir Alan Sugar, Gordon Ramsay:  need intensive training to look at the negative effects of their behavior; employees need to stand up to them and challenge their behavior.
  2. The Self Promoter e.g. Alan B’Stard (The New Statesman): won’t see themselves as a problem but should be working on giving their team members a piece of the pie; employees need to manage outwards and manage their own PR.
  3. The Whirlwind e.g. Jim Hacker (Yes, Minister), Edina (Absolutely Fabulous): need to learn self-discipline; employees need to push back and get them to focus by asking specific, challenging questions.
  4. The Self-deluder e.g. David Brent (The Office): would benefit from a 360-degree appraisal to increase their self awareness; employees should develop a thick skin and form a strong team with their  colleagues.
  5. The Stifler e.g. Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol): need to learn to delegate and trust, it might even be the case that they are not suited to management at all and should become a specialist;  employees should keep them well informed and  build levels of trust and confidence.
  6. Poker Face e.g. Professor Snape (Harry Potter): should try sharing something of themselves to engage people and build trust; employees should seek other sources of feedback and keep expectations low.
  7. Poor Me e.g. Reggie Perrin (The Rise & Fall of Reginald Perrin): should take responsibility of actions, workload and time; employee shouldn’t fall for the guilt trip and should leave on time and manage their own career.

“The Bully” seemed to be one of the most common examples given by the respondents with Kelly Fordham who currently works at Chevron saying “I have watched a boss in the public sector systematically bully people within his area of control – reducing seemingly competent and confident professionals to tears in public.  He would constantly swear, rant and rave in meetings.” Others told tales of manipulation, humiliation and high staff turnover.

Margot says “Nightmare bosses have a direct impact on the bottom line: attrition, absence & litigaton cost money, time and reputation.  In any case, no boss has the right to damage an employee’s self-esteem or confidence.” ”

Interestingly, only 7% of respondents acknowledged that they might be a bad boss themselves.  It’s time for the UK workforce to open their eyes and start making the work place into a dream instead of a nightmare.