Are bosses getting worse?

Feb 07 2008 by Print This Article

You can't seem to move on the web at the moment for stories about bad bosses. Here's another, this time from, which takes a look at what characterizes a bad boss as well as the implications of one.

Author Gordon Miller reckons that the trademarks of a bad boss are:

  • don't involve employees in decision-making
  • don't buy into work-life balance
  • flat-out rude to workers
  • think intimidation is an effective management tool
  • endorse the "my way or the highway" theory
  • subscribe to the "churn and burn" management theory
  • don't ask employees for their views or ideas

Sounds about right to me!

But Miller boss on to argue that bosses appear to be getting worse – or at least, our perception of them is. In particular, he suggests, it seems that the bosses of today are unable to deal with the modern worker.

"Today's employees have totally different requirements for their careers than the workers of the recent past. Most managers don't know what those requirements are let alone how to deal with them. It's basically a huge mis-connect," explains Miller.

However, the workers themselves are complicating matters. A recent survey, mentioned in the article, states that seventy-nine percent of workers indicate they don't want to be managed, but mentored. Miller states that most managers are not prepared to be that.

What does this do to the workplace? It impacts employee retention. "We found that more than one-third of all workers plan to change jobs," says Miller. "In fact, sixty-seven percent of employees say their company does not deserve their loyalty, partially due to the lousy manager syndrome."

So, while it may seem like employees just want to complain and whine, the fact is, most of the people you manage may be looking for work elsewhere.


Older Comments

Who says management is easy? It's not. You have to deal with change, your own boss, complaints, customers, budgets, incidents.... and then the worse of all - people!

Only kidding. In my experience, most 'bad' managers are control freaks, don't trust their staff and have no social skills. If you've got one who is all three - you have problems!

I do think managing people has changed over the years, mainly due to new technology, we have become more flexible and the manager has to be the same. Trust your staff to do a great job. As long as the manager has stated what is required and by when and it's agreed - let them get on with it. Simple. Maybe check-in once in awhile to see if you can help or advise any more. In addition, praise when a job deserves it.


GreatManagement UK

I have chosen this post for my weekly GreatManagement Inspirational Articles - The Best Advice From Around The Web. ( Andrew

GreatManagement UK

Easier said than done.

Most of the senior managers are 40 to 50 year old that subscribe to the old school of management methods though younger managers are not doing that well either.

It is about the personality and upbringing of the managers. If the personality and upbringing are bad, don't expect the manager to earn trust and respect from his team or coworkers.

Proper management can be taught in schools and universities but not leadership skills. Leadership can only be learned through experience and instilled in proper upbringing.

Being a leader means you have to be generous with your knowledge & experience, sharing it in a non-intimidating manner with the rest of your team.

Being a leader means you have to able to mentor, guide and teach to give and to create value in the people with and for you.

Being a leader means you have to recognize the difference and uniqueness in the individuals and to figure ways to make these differences work for the organization or otherwise have the guts to remove the toxic individuals.

Being a leader means walking the talk, to be the first to step in and the last to step out of a fight, to lead by example.

We are short of leaders but full of so-called managers endorsed with MBAs from numerous universities and tertiary institutions.

No wonder the corporate world is so full of bulls**t nowadays.

Brian Tan Singapore