As I wander around from workplace to workplace, I’m often amazed that the same dysfunctional managers keep popping up again and again. Maybe you recognize some of them.
There’s Narcissus. He or she spends lots of time looking in the mirror and re-reading press clippings. To Narcissus, there’s nothing more important than Narcissus.
Down the hall is Mussolini, the Dictator. The trappings of power are usually prominently displayed. The Dictator gives orders. Messengers who bring bad news, managers who tell uncomfortable truth, and any potential rivals are subject to termination.
The Dictator’s polar opposite is Neville Chamberlain, the Appeaser. The Appeaser figures that we can have peace in our time if we don’t confront the bullies, but just go along with them. So the Appeaser gives in and gives in, hoping that the crocodile bully will get full before eating them.
Sometimes the Appeaser sounds a lot like the Hippie. The Hippie thinks that everybody should just get along. The mantra is “happy people are productive people.” So the Hippie tries to make everyone happy and doesn’t worry about productivity.
Finally we have the Bret Favre of the workplace. Bret can do anything but decide. Actually that’s not true. Bret decides a lot and then reverses that decision only to reverse the reversal later.
Boss’s Bottom Line
Great bosses create workplaces that are people-friendly and productive. You can do that, even if your boss is one of the ones described above.