How many times have you heard your boss ask you to do something simply because they’re “higher up” than you?
Some of them might not say it verbatim, but they might be saying it with their actions. Regardless of how it’s portrayed, I thought it was pretty important to address something that been on my (and society’s) mind for a while.
Like most of us, throughout my entire working life (regardless of what industry I was working in at the time) I’ve had fantastic bosses, bosses that were just average, and ones that were terrible. To be further honest, one of them brought me to the brink of serious suicidal ideation. How did that happen? They were impossible to please, unclear on expectations, changed expectations constantly, were highly critical, micro-managed, demanded of all hours of my time and did not support me or our teammates emotionally. In fact, we got less work done because us “teammates” spent most of our time comforting each other after dealing with the aforementioned boss. It sounds counterproductive, but its true. They expected us to work as they did.
My personal assessment of each one of my bosses largely stemmed from inner checks and balances that weighed their morals against mine. Whenever I’ve struggled with authority, the root of the conflict was always clashes between our personal morals and values.
At some point, the frustration with these interpersonal issues would sometimes manifest themselves in a holier-thou-attitude on their part. I struggled with this. I didn’t know what to do with it. I still don’t.
The way I viewed it: these people were using their position of power over me to force me to do things that I wasn’t comfortable with… because they’re “the boss” and that’s how it goes.
For any manager reading this, I think it’s important (at this point) for you to know that the way your employees are treated as people does matter. It’s my hope that more of us question the “because I’m the boss” excuse more often. We deserve better.
Managers, think about it; is one of your team members becoming less responsive and more distant? Why is that? Was there a chance that you hurt them?
What you might see as insubordination may actually be a reaction to the pain you’ve caused. Sure, you might not have intended to cause that pain – but ignoring it does have its consequences. Productivity can severely decrease, team members leave, and you end up stressed because of it.
Being “the boss” shouldn’t excuse you from treating your co-workers and team members with respect.
We’re still human. Let’s remember that.